Confederations Cup 2013: Lessons as Spain win despite Suárez strike
Confederations Cup 2013: What lessons did we learn as Spain were 2-1 winners against Uruguay in Group B?
La Roja dissipate lingering doubts
On Sunday evening, in their first Group B match of this year’s Confederations Cup, Spain showed us all exactly why they are the reigning world and European champions as they swept aside the challenge of Uruguay with relative ease. The failings of some of their key players in European domestic action this season has had many football commentators pondering whether or not Spain could well soon find themselves in the middle of a mini-crisis. Barcelona’s humiliating 7-0 aggregate defeat by Bayern Munich, which saw Xavi and Andres Iniesta look second best over the two legs, instigated many of these concerns. However, their victory against the Uruguayans will have served to quell any doubts their fans may have had. For the majority of the tie, Vicente Del Bosque’s charges were in complete control of proceedings and although La Celeste did grab a late 88th-minute strike through Luis Suárez, the Spaniards were deserving of their victory.
Uruguay show hunger to win
In truth, Spain were by far the better of the two teams on the night and they should really have won by more than a single goal as they carved open a host of chances throughout. Nonetheless, the second half saw the Uruguayans grow more into the game as they began to pressurise Spain as often as the energy-sapping humidity allowed them. And, despite trailing by two goals going in at the break, Óscar Tabárez’s side didn’t allow themselves to become deflated and with only two minutes of normal time remaining, up stepped the ever-controversial Liverpool striker, Suárez, to curl home a wonderful free-kick from 35-yards out that left the outstretched Iker Casillas with absolutely no chance. Of course, Spain made the tie difficult for themselves as they took their foot of the gas towards the end of the match and allowed Charrúas more time on the ball. No doubt, they will be keen to improve their goal difference when they eventually face up to a Tahiti side that is comprised mostly of semi-professionals and amateurs.
Spain continue unbeaten run
Before Saturday’s encounter,, Spain had remained unbeaten in competitive football since 2009 and, true to form, they gave the fans at the Itaipava Arena Pernambuco a masterclass in how to play football at its most exhilarating. For 70 minutes, Spain were in total control of proceedings as they expertly held on to possession for prolonged periods and dictated the pace of the game. And, if they rode their luck with their first goal of the match – a deflected own-goal from Diego Lugano – they reminded us all just how capable they are of scoring all on their own with their second. Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fàbregas and Roberto Soldado all combined fluidly to put the ball in the back of the net a mere 12 minutes after taking the lead. More chances and delectable maneouvres ensued but that was as good as it would get for Spain, who will have been happy to win, but disappointed they couldn’t match the three goals Brazil grabbed against Japan in the Confederations Cup opener in Brasilia on Saturday night.