Confederations Cup Preview: Nigeria vs. Spain, Uruguay vs. Tahiti

Leave a comment

This afternoon sees the last group stage games of the Confederations Cup in Brazil, as Nigeria need a win against Spain to try and seal a place in the semifinals from Group B.

Uruguay has the much simpler task of beating Tahiti, who lost 6-1 to Nigeria in their opener and 10-0 to Spain last time out.

That loss was a Confederations Cup record, as the heaviest defeat in the tournaments history.

But can Tahiti cause a huge upset against the Uruguayans this afternoon? In a word. No.

However the global soccer community will be watching on intently to see how Tahiti respond after that hammering from world champions Spain.

Speaking of the Spanish, they could recall plenty of starters against Nigeria as their ticket to the semifinals is not mathematically booked despite wins against Uruguay and Tahiti. If Nigeria defeat Spain by four goals or more and Uruguay also win, then the Spanish could bow out at the group stage. However that scenario playing out is highly unlikely.

Nigeria meanwhile need to overcome Spain and hope that Tahiti somehow draw or beat Uruguay, if the Super Eagles are going to make the semifinals.

(MORE: Spain defeat Tahiti 10-0 as professionalism rules)

John Obi Mikel will be doing his best to break up the play in midfield but even if the African Cup of Nations champions do pull off a huge shock and beat Spain, their fate is no longer in their own hands. Nigeria haven’t defeated a European side since a 1-0 friendly win over France in 2009.

While Uruguay are buoyant after the vital 2-1 win against Nigeria. Diego Forlan emerged as the hero, with the veteran striker reminding us why he was named player of the tournament during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez will be missing skipper Diego Lugano through suspension but plenty of squad players will get the chance to shine.

La Celeste will be hoping a large win over Tahiti will be enough to see them through to the semifinals. Meanwhile Tahiti’s global profile has risen dramatically since the tournament began and their head coach Eddy Etaeta has promised to play all three of his goalkeepers at some point during this evening’s game with Uruguay.

A tense and thrilling finale is set up for Group B, with plenty of goals and top action expected as this wonderful Confederations Cup tournament continues.

Both games will start at 3pm ET, and you can watch Spain vs. Nigeria live on ESPN and Uruguay vs. Tahiti on ESPN 2.

PODCAST: Bob Bradley talks MLS past, USMNT

Jonathan Daniel /Allsport
Leave a comment
Scott Nicholls and Otis Earle welcomed Bob Bradley to their “Beyond The Pitch” podcast to discuss his time coaching the Chicago Fire, the Fire’s current squad, how MLS has evolved, the new generation of players coming into the USMNT and more.

Perhaps most interesting is Bradley talking about previous losses with stinging emotion that sounds like they happened yesterday, including the 2000 MLS Cup.

[ MORE: Latest Men In Blazers pod ]

Since being fired from Swansea City after less than 100 days, Bradley has been linked with the Norway national team gig as well as a return to Los Angeles. Keep up with the U.S. coach here, and check it out:

U.S. Open Cup preview: Which underdog has best odds?

Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Every dog has its day, and the three lower-tier clubs remaining in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup are hoping for a second.

Miami FC, Sacramento Republic, and FC Cincinnati enjoyed wins over Major League Soccer sides in the fourth round, and now get further MLS tests in this week’s fifth round.

[ MORE: Lampard linked with manager opening ]

Once FC Dallas and Colorado Rapids tangle on Tuesday, attention turns to the underdogs on Wednesday. Who has the best chance to advance?

  1. Miami FC vs. Atlanta United — Playing an MLS expansion side at Riccardo Silva Stadium will give Miami a bit of confidence, and this is also a side with some good experience in pressure spots. Whether it’s manager Alessandro Nesta or MLS vets Michel, Gabriel Farfan, and Michael Lahoud, MFC won’t shy away. Upset chance: Solid.
  2. FC Cincinnati vs. Chicago Fire — The visitors are having a heck of a season in MLS and don’t have a group which will be worried by a huge crowd, but there’s no debating that 25,000-plus in Southern Ohio give FCC more than a puncher’s chance. Upset chance: Improbable, but possible
  3. LA Galaxy vs. Sacramento Republic — If LA puts something close to its best side out there, Sacramento will struggle to stop its attack.  Upset chance: Long shot.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, New England hosts DC United, Philadelphia visits the Red Bulls, Seattle is off to San Jose, and Houston hosts Sporting KC.

WATCH: Spain’s Saul smashes a shot past Italy’s Donnarumma

Leave a comment

Since returning from a loan at Rayo Vallecano, Saul Niguez has been a somewhat under the radar star at Atletico Madrid.

Coming off his best season with Atleti, the 22-year-old Saul is making an even bigger name for himself at the U-21 EURO this summer.

Spain’s Saul scored a hat trick past Gianluigi Donnarumma and Italy on Tuesday, and the second goal was laced with venom.

Getting onto the ball from 30-plus yards out, Saul smashed his shot with enough power that the ball barely had occasion to rotate.

Saul is under contract at the Vicente Calderon through 2022, and has three caps for Spain’s senior team, too. He was rated Atleti’s third-best performer by WhoScored this season.

Men in Blazers podcast: Transfer window, USMNT at Gold Cup, RBNY-NYCFC

Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Men In Blazers are back with their latest podcast, and the boys are hitting club soccer here and abroad as well as Bruce Arena’s men in the red, white, and blue.

Rog and Davo break down transfer window activity, rumored and real; get a heat check on the USMNT heading into the Gold Cup; and recap the (Ray) Hudson River Derby.

All of the MiB content — pods, videos and stories can be seen here, but to really stay in touch, follow, subscribe, click here:

Subscribe to the podcast OR to update your iTunes subscriptions ]

Click here for the RSS feed ]