Confederations Cup - Suarez free-kick fails to deny Spain opening victory

Confederations Cup, Group B - Spain 2 (Lugano OG 20, Soldado 32) Uruguay 1 (Suarez 88)


Luis Suarez scored a fabulous free-kick, but it was not enough to prevent Uruguay from sliding to a 2-1 loss to Spain in their Confederations Cup Group B match at Arena Pernambuco.

The Liverpool forward walloped a terrific effort beyond the Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas with three minutes remaining, but it probably gave the scoreline a false reflection after the world and European champions dominated large swathes of this contest.

To illustrate their dominance, Xavi made 70 passes in the first half, only 25 fewer than Uruguay made in total as the South Americans were left chasing space with Gaston Ramires denied the time to exert any influence from midfield.

Vincente del Bosque's Spain moved 1-0 clear on 20 minutes when a Pedro shot flew into the net via a deflection off the Uruguay captain Diego Lugano as his goalkeeper Fernando Muslera headed in the opposite direction.

Spain moved two to the good when Roberto Soldado finished with some class from just inside the Uruguay area after being set up by Cesc Fabregas.

Soldado should have had a penalty a minute into injury time when he was clearly felled by Alvaro Gonzalez as he bounded in on goal, but the referee somehow decided to wave play on.

Gonzalez should have been sent off for that challenge, but fortunately it had no bearing on the overall outcome of the contest.

Spain continue their campaign when they meet Tahiti on Thursday with Uruguay facing Nigeria in a match they must win to stay alive in the tournament.

Nigeria face minnows Tahiti in their opening match of the tournament on Monday.

Soldado narrowly failed to connect with a Jordi Alba cross in the third minute while Fabregas saw a shot come back off a post with Muslera beaten five minutes later.

Andres Iniesta watched as his effort was swatted away by Muslera on 14 minutes before Spain struck the opening goal.

Uruguay's chances were few and far between, but Edinson Cavani provided a moment of concern when his header was saved by Casillas from a Suarez free-kick.

Muslera somehow managed to prevent Gerard Pique from scoring from close range after Xavi had thrown over a corner-kick before half-time.

The second half saw Spain binge on possession, but they were rarely threatened with Suarez's free-kick a solitary moment of respite for Uruguay against a side playing well within themselves.


Roberto Soldado - A fine finish from the Valencia forward, who justified his inclusion from the start.



Spain: Casillas 6, Arbeloa 7, Sergio Ramos 7, Piqué 7, Jordi Alba 7, Busquets 7, Xavi 8, Iniesta 8, Fabregas 8, Pedro 7, Soldado 8..subs: Cazorla 6, Martinez 6, Mata 6

Uruguay: Muslera 6, Pereira 5, Lugano 5, Godín 5, Cáceres 5, D. Pérez 6, Gargano 6, ‘Cebolla’ Rodriguez 5, G.Ramírez 5, Luis Suárez 5, Cavani 5..subs: Forlan 5, Gonzalez 5, Lodeiro 5

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