Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi, stand-in captain Vincent Enyeama and defender Elderson Echiejile insist the Super Eagles have not given up hope of reaching the Confederations Cup semifinals.
Diego Forlan’s strike brought to an end Keshi’s long 18-match unbeaten run in competitive games after the former Manchester United forward got the winner as Uruguay beat Nigeria 2-1 in their Confederations Cup Group B game in Salvador, Brazil on Thursday.
Uruguay and Nigeria are tied on three points in the group but the South American champions are expected to beat underdogs Tahiti on Sunday while the Eagles need to defeat group leaders Spain the same day to progress in the tournament.
If Nigeria fail to end Spain’s 24-match unbeaten run in international competitions, they will be sent packing from Brazil on Monday. La Roja, who routed Tahiti 10-0 earlier on Thursday, only need a point to reach the last four.
But Keshi said Spain are beatable despite the European and world champions’ brilliant array of stars.
“As for Spain, we can’t wait to play them. Anything can happen. That’s what makes this such a great game,” Keshi told reporters in Salvador.
“Everything is achievable,” he said. “It depends how bad you want it.”
Sporting Braga’s Echiejile said the team will go all out for victory against Spain.
“Despite the loss to Uruguay, we remain upbeat going into the game against Spain. We will go all out and fight,” the 2013 Portuguese Cup winner, who has a goal to his name in the tournament, wrote on his Twitter page on Friday.
Goalkeeper Enyeama said the Eagles are not frightened by Spanish superstars, saying the Eagles are ready for the challenge.
“We don’t have to beat Spain convincingly, we just have to beat them,” Goal quoted the 30-year-old, who won the Israeli Premier League with Maccabi Tel Aviv last season, as saying on Friday.
“ That’s the most important thing. You never know what will happen (to Uruguay) against Tahiti.
“I really respect Spain, they have amazing players. Iniesta is magical for them and then you have Xavi. You like to play against these guys because you love watching these guys too.
“But it’s possible to win, because this is football. It will be a great experience for us. We can show our quality and we want to learn.”