Spain stars return against Nigeria

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque brought his first-choice players back into his starting line-up for his side's final Confederations Cup Group B game against Nigeria at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza on Sunday.

Spain's goalkeeper Victor Valdes takes part in a training session at Sao Januario, the home field of Brazilian team Vasco de Gama, in Rio de Janeiro, on June 18, 2013. Spain coach Vicente del Bosque brought his first-choice players back into his starting line-up for his side's final Confederations Cup Group B game against Nigeria at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza on Sunday.

As he had announced in his pre-game press conference, the 10 players who started the opening 2-1 win over Uruguay returned to the team, but Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes was picked in goal instead of Iker Casillas.

Fernando Torres and David Villa were both accordingly named on the substitutes' bench, despite having scored four and three goals respectively in the 10-0 rout of Tahiti last Thursday.

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi made two changes to the team beaten 2-1 by Uruguay in the African champions' last outing.

Sunday Mba came in for John Ogu in midfield, with Werder Bremen forward Joseph Akpala replacing Nnamdi Oduamadi, who had to go off injured against the Uruguayans.

Spain need a draw to secure top place in Group B and set up a semi-final encounter with Italy at the same venue on Thursday.

With Uruguay widely expected to comfortably beat Tahiti in the other group game on Sunday, Nigeria must beat Spain to stand any chance of qualifying for the semi-finals on goal difference.

Starting line-ups for the Confederations Cup Group B match between Nigeria and Spain at Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza on Sunday (1900GMT kick-off):

Nigeria

Vincent Enyeama (capt); Efe Ambrose, Godfrey Oboabona, Kenneth Omeruo, Uwa Echiejile; John Mikel Obi, Fegor Ogude, Sunday Mba; Ahmed Musa, Joseph Akpala, Brown Ideye

Coach: Stephen Keshi

Spain

Victor Valdes; Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Xavi (capt); Pedro Rodriguez, Cesc Fabregas, Roberto Soldado

Coach: Vicente del Bosque

Referee: Joel Aguilar (ESA)

About the author

columnist
Writer: AFP
Position: News agency