Spain, Uruguay roll into semifinals

Posted by Jason York, ESPN Stats & Information

Spain and Uruguay booked their places in the semifinals of the FIFA Confederations Cup as round-robin play concluded on Sunday.

Spain wore down Nigeria, 3-0, and Uruguay overwhelmed Tahiti, 8-0, to finish first and second in Group B and round out the semifinals. Uruguay will face continental rival and host Brazil on Wednesday, and Spain will play Italy in a rematch of the Euro 2012 final on Thursday.

Jordi Alba, who had two goals in 19 appearances entering Sunday, scored twice for Spain. Fernando Torres scored off the bench, and he leads the tournament with five goals. Spain, which is unbeaten in its past 25 games, has spread the scoring around during the tournament as seven different players have goals for the current world and European champions.

Spain’s ability to hold possession was also on full display against Nigeria. The Spanish completed a tournament-high 91.6 percent of their passes, including 94 percent in the second half.

Nigeria was able to press Spain in the first half but was not able to finish any of the 11 scoring chances it created. Nigeria had six shots blocked, including five in the penalty area.

Abel Hernandez scored four goals for Uruguay, including the second-fastest goal in Confederations Cup history just 1:17 into the game. Hernandez is also the first Uruguayan with a hat trick at senior FIFA tournament since Carlos Borges versus Scotland at the 1954 World Cup. Luis Suarez scored twice and passed Diego Forlan as Uruguay's all-time leader with 35 goals.

Uruguay got into better attacking positions against Tahiti, with 239 touches in the attacking third of the field, the single-game high in this year’s tournament. Uruguay had only 107 touches in the attacking third in its previous two group-stage games.

Tahiti, which was playing in its first senior FIFA tournament, allowed 24 goals and had a minus-23 goal difference, both the worst-ever marks at a senior FIFA tournament.

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