Confederations Cup 2013: Three talking points as Nigeria beat Tahiti
Confederations Cup 2013: Michael Cox takes a look at three talking points from Nigeria's landslide victory over Tahiti
Echiejile would do well in England
This opening fixture was always going to be easy for Nigeria, despite Tahiti’s spirit and buoyed by support from the neutral, a landslide win for the Africa country was expected. Eventually the Super Eagles side ran out 6-1 winners, and in a weird way, it was always going to be hard for any of them to impress against such lowly opposition. However, defender Uwa Echiejile, scorer of goals one and six, was excellent down the left hand side, effectively acting as left winger, with his pace and crossing giving the Oceania Nations Cup winners a torrid time. The first goal had a huge element of luck taking a wicked deflection off Nicolas Vallar but his second was well taken following a scramble inside the Tahiti box. His defensive skills will receive a more rigourous test against Uruguay and Spain. However, on Monday night, he was the best player on the pitch and lower Premier League sides could do worse than snap up the Sporting Braga player.
Nigeria will not worry big sides next summer
Somehow, after winning a game 6-1, Nigeria may came away disappointed from this opener, and in truth, it should have been double figures. In fact, the one goal they conceded will matter more than the six which they scored. Defensively, Nigeria came under pressure very rarely but from an early second-half corner, Jonathan Tehau was allowed the freedom of the back post to score a landmark goal for the minnows and Nigerian coach Stephen Keshi will have been seething to see such poor marking. They were wasteful in front of goal, especially Anthony Ujah, who would have been expected to have netted at least one against the minnows but found himself subbed early in the second period having been poor in the opening half. It is unlikely the Afcon champions will progress to the last four and, if they make it to Brazil next year, it’s difficult to see them progressing out of the group stages barring an extremely favourable draw. Their best players Echiejile and Nnamdi Oduamadi scored five of the six goals, with Tehau netting at the wrong end for the sixth – and aside from those the aforementioned players, the Super Eagles were poor. With Victor Moses, and Emmanuel Emenike back in the side, they may threaten more, but for now, they will not be a side Roy Hodgson will worry about facing.
The Confederations Cup is filling the footballing gap for all
Usually this competition is treated as a minor, maybe even pointless, tournament. But so far we have had four great games consisting of 16 goals and probably the worst match was Monday night’s. Brazil set it alight on Saturday before two thoroughly entertaining clashes on Sunday. Monday’s clash will be best remembered for Tehau, who ensured his place in football folklore with Tahiti’s goal. A summer without a major tournament can be very boring for football fans, but this year’s Confederations Cup looks to be doing a good job of filling the void. Seven of the eight sides are World Cup regulars, and should they keep up the entertainment levels, people will perhaps even look forward to the next one in 2017.