When the draw for the FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 was made, both Nigeria and Uruguay knew this match would go a very long way to deciding their fates in Group B. FIFA.com previews what is shaping up to be a pivotal encounter.
Nigeria-Uruguay, Estadio Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador, Thursday 20 June, 19:00 (local time)
Beaten by Spain in their opening match, Uruguay must take something from this game if they are to have any chance of progressing. To achieve that, Oscar Tabarez’s will need to reproduce the kind of form they showed late on against the world champions, when they rallied after being very much second-best for fully 70 minutes. With that idea in mind, El Maestro is contemplating making changes to his starting line-up, which could mean a return for Diego Forlan.
Fresh from their handsome defeat of Tahiti, Nigeria stand top of the group on goal difference from Spain and have slightly more margin for error. The Super Eagles should not be lulled into a false sense of security, however, and will know only too well that the Uruguayans will present a far stiffer test of their abilities than the Oceania champions. Coach Stephen Keshi has already said he will be making changes at the back in a bid to contain the effervescent twosome of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.
18 - The number of matches Nigeria have now gone unbeaten, the best run in their history. Their last defeat came in South America in May 2012, when they went down to Peru 1-0 in a friendly in Lima. Nigeria’s record against CONMEBOL sides is not impressive. Out of a total of 17 full international matches against South American opposition they have lost ten, drawn four and won only three.
“Everyone’s come here to win and Uruguay are planning right now how to beat us. We need to improve and focus on the job in hand,” Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi.
“We know the Nigeria game is key and that the draw suits them better than it does us. If we draw the game, then it leaves things out of our hands on the final day. We need to prevent that from happening,” Uruguay forward Diego Forlan..