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John O'Donnell On June - 18 - 2013

Confederations Cup Recap: Spain’s First Performance

Spain eased past Uruguay in their first match in Group B of the FIFA Confederations Cup.

The 2-1 score line fails to reflect Spain’s dominance of the game as they were comfortable throughout and went 2-0 up in the first half with a deflected Pedro strike and another goal from Valencia striker Roberto Soldado before Liverpool striker Luis Suarez pulled a goal back for Uruguay a few minutes from full time.

Spain of course qualified for the tournament as reigning World and European Champions with Euro 2012 runners up Italy taking the spot for Europe as the Spanish had already qualified as World Cup winners. Spain were undefeated in their previous 22 matches and their last tournament defeat came in their opening match of the 2010 World Cup which they then went on to win.

Uruguay meanwhile qualified for the tournament as the reigning South American Champions after winning the 2011 Copa America which was their record 15th title. They have had mixed results in their World Cup 2014 qualifying matches leaving them outside the automatic qualification spots in 5th place occupying South America’s playoff spot. They did however win their last match before the Confederations Cup defeating Venezuela 1-0 thanks to a goal from Edinson Cavani.

Spain started the game in their usual style by keeping possession of the ball and with just under 10 minutes gone they had an incredible 90 % possession of the ball with Uruguay barely getting a touch. The Spanish then had their first real chance as a ball was played in towards the edge of the box which Andres Iniesta cleverly stepped over allowing the ball to run to Barcelona team mate Cesc Fabregas who took a touch before hitting a great shot from the edge of the box which struck the post before bouncing away to safety.

The World Champions would not have to wait too much longer before they got their goal however as a Xavi corner was cleared to the edge of the box where Pedro was waiting to strike a shot at goal which struck Uruguay defender Diego Lugano before flying into the net. Just over 10 minutes later Spain doubled their lead as Fabregas picked up the ball in the final third of the pitch and continued to come forward before sliding a great pass into the path of Soldado who took one touch to control the ball and another to fire it into the net and give Spain a comfortable lead which they took into half time.

The second half continued much the same as the first with Spain unsurprisingly dominating possession as they seemed content with their two goal lead however they gave the impression they could still kick up another few gears if they had to. There was still time for Uruguay to get a consolation goal and it was controversial Liverpool striker Luis Suarez who got it. For all his non-footballing antics on the pitch its sometimes easy to forget Suarez is still a world class player but he reminded everyone of his ability with a stunning 25 yard free kick that flew into the corner giving Iker Casillas no chance.

A pattern has emerged in the first three games of this Confederations Cup tournament with each match featuring a world class goal with Neymar’s sensational half volley for Brazil against Japan followed by Andrea Pirlo’s exquisite free kick for Italy against Mexico and now

Suarez stepping up to curl a great free kick in for Uruguay so let’s hope this trend continues for the rest of the tournament!

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