Spain and Nigeria help to close out the 2013 Confederations Cup group stage on Sunday.
It's no surprise that Spain have been the team of the tournament so far. While Brazil have picked up the full nine points already, La Roja have been so methodical with the way in which they've gotten the job done. You'd have to give them the edge right now.
For Nigeria, it's been downhill ever since winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations. They've had to deal with problems behind the scenes, and those issues have rubbed off on the team's results on the pitch.
The Confederations Cup is an opportunity to get things back on track. The Super Eagles won't have any more time to do that, though, with the wrong result against Spain.
Here's a preview for this final match of Group B play.
When: Sunday, June 23, at 3 p.m. ET
Where: Estadio Castelao, Fortaleza, Brazil
Live Stream: ESPN3
What's at Stake
Spain are pretty much already through to the group stage. They'll have to lose by at least four goals and have Uruguay score 11 goals against Tahiti to exit the group stage. La Roja can rest key players for this match if they want in order to keep them more rested for the semi-final.
Nigeria need to win this match and win it by a lot. With their win over Tahiti, there's still the chance the Super Eagles will be able to advance to the semi-final. The chances are very slim, unfortunately. The door will be closed completely if Nigeria lose, so they'll be throwing everything they've got at Spain in order to try to nab a victory.
Nigeria Player to Watch: John Obi Mikel
John Obi Mikel was tremendous in the 2-1 loss to Uruguay. He tired out toward the end of the match, though. That was mostly as a result of his constant running throughout most of the game.
Deployed often as a defensive midfielder for Chelsea, Mikel is given much more free rein to run all over the pitch with Nigeria. Against Uruguay, Stephen Keshi chose to have Mikel play much closer to the strikers, and that decision paid off in spades as Mikel scored in the 37th minute.
Considering the way Spain will be able to control the ball, Mikel will be called upon quite often. He'll need to close down on Spanish attackers in the midfield and then to help start the counter-attack when Nigeria are on the ball.
Spain Player to Watch: Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres found the net four times against Tahiti. He probably could have scored twice that if he had actually tried.
Torres has become a bit of a punchline over the past couple of seasons because of his profligacy at Chelsea. He's never going to be the player he was at Liverpool between 2007 and 2009. That doesn't mean Torres is completely done as a player.
Vicente del Bosque can opt for a few different attackers at centre-forward. After Torres' performance, it makes sense to have him go out there again and continue building up that confidence. He was composed on the ball and made the most of his opportunities on goal.
Doing that against Nigeria would be a much bigger statement.
Even if Spain decide to field a weaker team and sit back more, it's hard to see them losing this match.
While Nigeria looked a little better against Uruguay, there are still plenty of warning signs for their next match. They are a largely disorganized side that doesn't play well as a team. That was never more apparent than against Tahiti, when the players were more interested in showing off than actually making the smart football move.
Spain have been ruthlessly efficient so far. They've dominated possession and picked apart Uruguay and Tahiti in the process. Many have been proclaiming the decline of Spanish football after Barcelona and Real Madrid were knocked out of the Champions League by German teams.
However, the Spanish national team is looking as good as it has in years. La Roja are attacking well and don't have the same kind of defensive issues they have in the past.
This should be another easy win for Spain.
Spain 2, Nigeria 0
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