What: FIFA Confederations Cup – Group B
Who: Spain vs Tahiti
When: Thursday 20th June, 2013, at 20:00 UK Time
Where: Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Good Signs

Spain’s Confederations Cup campaign got off to a good start after beating Copa America holders Uruguay. That was La Seleccion’s second win in 2013 over the South American side, and things have been going smoothly for them as they continue to build their golden dynasty. Facing arguably the weakest side in the competition in Tahiti, a win over the small nation will allow Vicente del Bosque’s side to progress to the semi-finals.

The chances of Tahiti even drawing this game seem small, but that does not mean that the current World Cup holders will take their opponents lightly. “Success is born out of respect for opponents, and Tahiti deserve it. With all their limitations they showed against Nigeria they are a team that want to play and has speed. Spain are favourites but the games are won on the field and not before", insisted Chelsea man Juan Mata ahead of the game.

With the game against Tahiti looking relatively easy for Spain though, Del Bosque might be tempted to field some of his reserve players. Men such as Raul Albiol, Nacho Monreal and Javi Martinez will all likely to see playing minutes before the competition gets harder in the latter stages.

Dreams of a Nation

No game has ever been branded a as “David vs Goliath” clash more than the meeting between Spain and Tahiti. With Nigeria having beaten the Polynesian side by a five-goal margin, things then promise to be much harder against Spain. For Eddy Etaeta and his men, participation in the Confederations Cup is a dream come true, and the small side will want to enjoy this football feast as much as possible.

It was the first time in FIFA history that Tahiti managed to score a goal against Nigeria, and the celebrations that ensued were the natural reflection of the hopes and joys of that small nation. The author of that goal, Jonathan Tehau could not hide his feelings after making history for his team, despite the heavy defeat.

“It’s a first for our country. I’m very happy to have scored and to have made my mark on the history of Tahitian football, alongside my team-mates. My mind went blank when I scored; all I could think of was celebrating it properly with my friends”, he said.

However, things will be much harder against Spain, according to captain Nicolas Vallar. “We know that we’re very unlikely to surprise Spain, but scoring a goal against Nigeria has put the wind in our sails."

Recent form

Spain 2-1 Haiti (08/06; Friendly)
Spain 2-0 Ireland (12/06; Friendly)
Spain 2-1 Uruguay (16/06; Confederations Cup)

Tahiti 2-0 Solomon Islands (23/03; World Cup Qualifiers)
New Caledonia 1-0 Tahiti (26/03; World Cup Qualifiers)
Tahiti 1-6 Nigeria (17/06; Confederations Cup)

Players to watch

Spain – Jesus Navas: The winger is one of the players expected to see some action in this game. Eager to impress ahead of his move to Manchester City, the fast midfielder is one of many luxurious options Vicente del Bosque holds on the bench.

Tahiti – Marama Vahirua: Vahirua is the only man of the squad to ply his trade outside of Tahiti, playing with French side AS Nancy. Realistically, he faces the toughest match of his career against La Roja, but will be carrying the hopes and dreams of a nation.

Match Prediction

Even if Spain field an entire reserve team, they will have too much to handle for the guests of the 2013 Confederations Cup, who are just happy to be making this exclusive tournament. Expect Spain to destroy their opponents by a very large scoreline.

Betting on Spain v Tahiti? Don't before you've visited Inside Bet!