Spain will face Italy in the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals on Thursday after Jordi Alba struck twice in a 3-0 defeat of Nigeria, the world and European champions setting up a rematch of the UEFA EURO 2012 showpiece with their third straight Group B win.
Despite earlier successes against Uruguay and Tahiti, Vicente del Bosque's men took on Nigeria still needing a point to be certain of a last-four berth. They clearly had no intention of settling for a draw, though, and FC Barcelona full-back Alba gave them the lead with just three minutes gone, bustling past a couple of challenges following a fine team move and rifling in a left-footed shot.
Needing a win to have any chance of going through, Nigeria reacted by making regular headway in the Spanish half, only for their moves to break down close to goal. At the other end, Roberto Soldado fired directly at Vincent Enyeama after being sent clear, and Cesc Fàbregas jabbed a Soldado cross against a post.
Spain ended the half on the attack as Sergio Ramos headed a free-kick at Enyeama, but their opponents threatened shortly after the break when Ideye Brown narrowly failed to get hold of an Ahmed Musa centre. It was the European side who registered next, however, and Fernando Torres who got the goal, the Chelsea FC forward heading in Pedro Rodríguez's cross just moments after coming on as a substitute.
Elmination was beckoning for Nigeria, and they spurned another opening when Gambo Muhammad sliced wide. In hungry mood, Alba made no such mistake with two minutes remaining as he beat the offside trap to chase a lofted ball before rounding Enyeama and scoring.
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