Two nations that should have been doing a lot better in their respective qualifying campaigns, Spain are taking the Confederations Cup very seriously, hoping to keep their unbeaten run going, while Uruguay are wishing for a chance to keep their momentum alive after a long period of struggling to provide satisfactory results.
It’s been a very long time (23 years) since these two teams last met in an official match (World Cup 1990), drawing their two matches in that competition. When it comes to an overall record including friendlies, Uruguay are still searching for their first win against Spain, losing 3-1 only four months ago in Qatar.
However, Uruguay have beaten France and Venezuela in their most recent matches, which brought up the confidence levels and brought them back into the top 5 in the South American qualifying group. Luis Suarez has been in excellent form, while Edinson Cavani scored the clinching and vital goal against Venezuela. The feeling with Uruguay for the last three years is that when they’re focused, they’re good enough to beat anyone in the world.
But Spain seem to be of a different class. They haven’t loss in 22 consecutive matches, and although their home draws against France and Finland in the qualifiers are some cause for concern, they are still the favorites in pretty much every match they go into, winning their most recent official match (at France) 1-0 through a Pedro goal.
While Uruguay’s strength is in their wingers and two fantastic strikers, Spain, as usual, bring a different kind of quality to the pitch. They continue to play without a true striker, and even when David Villa is on the pitch, he is usually used in a wide position. Fernando Torres or Robert Soldado are not likely to start, despite being the only real options Del Bosque has at the ‘true 9’ positions.
Spain continue to rely on Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquests, with everything hinging on their dominance in the middle. Around them things are more destines to change in terms of names and positioning, but the key to stopping Spain is finding a way to disrupt their passing game, which might force Uruguay to press a lot higher than they’re used to, hopefully not leaving their weaker-than-usual defense a bit too exposed.
Predictions – Both sides aren’t in the best of form, but Uruguay can’t hide their current problems against a team like the Spanish. Spain do not have real attacking force that can guarantee more than 2 goals, but their quality in the middle of the pitch should be enough to secure an opening victory.