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Fifa Confederations Cup
Venue: Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador
Date: Thursday, 20 June
Kick-off: 18:00 E.T. (11pm Nigerian time)
Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi is hopeful of having Ogenyi Onazi available after a knee injury.
Reports had originally suggested the Lazio midfielder was out for the tournament however his return would give Keshi a clean bill of health.
Opposite number Oscar Tabarez also has no injury concerns.
That means former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan will likely win his 100th Uruguay cap off the bench.
Nigeria looked like they needed a Confederations Cup dry-run for large periods against Tahiti. There’s no such margin for error in their first ever meeting with Uruguay.
The second group game of the tournament seems a little early for qualification permutations but safe to say it’s a must-win for both teams.
Nigeria never looked like slipping up against Tahiti but they were anything but efficient against the French Polynesian minnows.
Nnamdi Oduamadi’s hat-trick will reportedly see him recalled to AC Milan from a loan spell with Serie B outfit Varese. But, his finishing aside, the Super Eagles were woeful in attack and coach Stephen Keshi is demanding improvement.
“I wouldn’t say I was annoyed, but I was worried when we did not take our chances because it gave our opponents hope,” he said.
Uruguay themselves were similarly toothless against Spain but front man Diego Forlan is not concerned:
“We knew before coming to Brazil that our most important game was against Nigeria and nothing has changed because we lost to Spain,” he said.
The protests in Brazil show no signs of abating but Super Eagles boss Keshi has insisted the unrest in the Nigerian squad, regarding bonuses, is a thing of the past.
Defeat against La Celeste could test that harmony much as a victory for the Super Eagles might just spell the beginning of the end for Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez.
El Maestro has come under fire for his blind faith in the old guard such as Forlan and skipper Diego Lugano which has, according to critics, contributed to Uruguay’s stuttering World Cup qualification campaign. Defeat against Nigeria could bring about a raft of farewells – and not just to the Confederations Cup.
Nigeria and Uruguay have never met in a senior international.
Nigeria are unbeaten in their last 18 games. Their last defeat came in May 2012, 1-0 against Peru in Lima.
Despite their impressive recent record, the Super Eagles have only kept four clean sheets in their last 15 games.
Nnamdi Oduamadi’s hat-trick against Tahiti means he has now scored four goals in his first six internationals for Nigeria.
Uruguay only made 25 more passes (95) in the first half of their tournament opener than Spanish midfielder Xavi.
Defeat against Spain means La Celeste have only won three of their last 11 matches.
Luis Suarez has scored 11 goals in his last 14 matches for Uruguay and his goal against Spain moved him level with Diego Forlan as Uruguay’s all-time top scorer with 33.
Forlan, meanwhile, has not scored in his last 12 internationals but is set to win his 100th cap against Nigeria.
MOST RECENT MEETING
These two teams have never met in a senior international.