The Spain side managed by Del Bosque has defeated Nigeria thanks to two goals from Alba and one from Torres to finish top of their group. They play Italy on Thursday for a place in the final
Eight FC Barcelona players were included in the starting line-up and Villa came on for the last quarter of an hour
Nigeria: Enyeama, Oboabona, Echiejile, Ambrose, Musa, Ideye, Akpala (Muhammad, min 71), Mikel, Ogude, Mba (Ogu, min 63), Omeruo (Egwuekwe, min 11)
Spain: Valdés, Arbeloa, Piqué, Ramos, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Cesc (Silva, min 54), Pedro (Villa, min 75), Soldado (Torres, min 59)
Goals: 0-1, Alba (min 3); 0-2, Torres (min 60); 0-3, Alba (min 88)
Referee: Joel Aguilar (SLV)
Nine out of nine for Spain. Just like the Brazil of Neymar and Alves, a Spain squad featuring no fewer than nine Barça players – all of whom played against Nigeria – has finished off the first phase of the Confederations Cup with three wins out of three and top of their group. This Sunday they beat the African champions 3-0 thanks to two goals from Jordi Alba – one in the opening minutes of the game and another just before the final whistle – plus a third from Fernando Torres The match was played in Fortaleza. They now have to get past Italy on Thursday to face either Uruguay or Brazil in the final.
An early goal
The game started at a blistering pace. Iniesta almost created the best chance of the tournament so far in the opening move of the match but two minutes later it was Jordi Alba who scored first thanks to an assist from Iniesta. Nigeria hit back with intense pressure to keep Valdés on his toes but the Barça keeper responded well.
While Spain had to share an unusual amount of possession with Nigeria, Del Bosque’s players continued to create plenty of chances. Soldado had a couple of clear opportunities while Cesc hit the post. At halftime Spain had to accept a tight one goal advantage (0-1)
Torres and Alba clinch victory
The pace of the game slackened in the second half and the familiar possession game of the world champions limited Nigeria to just one decent chance during the 45 minutes. Cesc asked to be taken off in the 52nd minutes and was followed by Soldado with half an hour left. He was replaced by Fernando Torres, who needed just one minute to add Spain’s second, assisted by a cross from the left wing by a tireless Pedro.
David Villa came on for Pedro for the last 15 minutes but it was Barça team-mate Jordi Alba who scored Spain’s third goal of the game. With Nigeria throwing everything into attack, Alba controlled a long ball from Villa to fire home his second and Spain’s third goal. Now for Italy in the semi-finals.