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Confederations Cup: Uruguay v Tahiti and Spain v Nigeria previews

There have been mixed feelings about Tahiti’s participation in the Confederations Cup in Brazil. One the one hand it has been great to see the plucky South Pacific islanders give it their best shot against Nigeria and Spain. On the other, they have been totally out of their depth, hammered both times, and one wonders what it has done for their confidence going forward.

Spain, though sporting and respectful to their opponents, used the mismatch as little more than a possession exercise and merely as a consequence of their expert passing game, rather than a go-for-the-throat approach, racked up ten goals without reply.

And you fear even more for Tahiti tomorrow night when they come up against Uruguay, who, apart from needing a big win to make sure of their progress to the semi-finals, have hungry strikers like Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, the South American’s top goalscorers of all time, eager to fill their boots.

The ‘cricket score’ cliché may not be such an exaggeration just a week after Essex were bowled out for 20 by Lancashire, and while so many goals might be asking a bit much, Uruguay might well better Spain’s total. 11-0 is rated a 12/1 shot with Coral, 12-0 is 16/1.

It’s take your pick at 6/4 which of Forlan or Suarez scores first with Edinson Cavani just behind at 13/8.

The Spain-Nigeria game won’t be so one-sided, but the outcome still looks something of a foregone conclusion – Coral go 3/10 Spain, 10/1 Nigeria, 14/1 the draw.

Nnamdi Oduamadi, who notched a hat-trick against Tahiti, is an injury doubt, but with or without him, Nigeria are really up against it against the European and World champions, who haven’t really been out of third gear in this tournament so far and probably wont need to be here either.

Spain are likely to play a stronger side against Nigeria than they sent out against Tahiti, although their second string attacking troupe would be good enough against almost any side in the world.

David Villa and Fernando Torres are 7/2 joint favourites with Coral to strike first after netting seven times between them against Tahiti, but Spain goals rain in from all over the place and Pedro, at 11/2, is perhaps better value.

One note of optimism for Nigeria is that the only previous time they met Spain, in the 1998 World Cup group stages, they beat them 3-2, but La Roja are a very different side these days. Spain to win to nil (3/4 with Coral) looks a good shout.

Written by Jon Freeman