Spain-Uruguay Preview: Tabarez's side eyeing first ever win over la Roja
La Celeste face a daunting test in Sunday's Group B opener against the world and European champions, who they are yet to beat in six previous attempts
By Karthick Arvinth
Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Pedro, Villa, Mata
M Pereira, Lugano, Godin, Caceres
Perez, Gargano, A Pereira
Cavani, Forlan, Suarez
Barcelona's Victor Valdes is set to start as Spain's goalkeeper in their Confederations Cup clash against Uruguay at the Arena Pernambuco.
Captain Iker Casillas featured in friendly wins over Haiti and the Republic of Ireland last week, but is unlikely to get the nod on Sunday, as he has not played for his club side Real Madrid since January.
Coach Vicente del Bosque will have to choose between David Villa and Fernando Torres in attack, with Cesc Fabregas offering another alternative as a 'false nine' striker.
Uruguay forward Luis Suarez is available after missing Tuesday's World Cup qualifier win over Venezuela through suspension.
Boss Oscar Tabarez could name an attack-minded side with Suarez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani all starting together.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Spain are unbeaten in their last 22 matches, winning 15.
- La Roja have never lost to Uruguay in six previous encounters (W3, D3).
- Spain are taking part in only their second Confederations Cup. Their only previous campaign ended with a third-place finish in 2009.
- Uruguay have just won one of their last seven competitive matches (W1, D2, L4).
- The Copa America winners lost 3-1 to Spain in a friendly in Qatar in February.
- Luis Suarez (pictured, right) is Uruguay's top scorer in their 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign with eight goals.
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Top 3 Predictions
Spain 2-1 Uruguay
- 16.25 %
Spain 3-1 Uruguay
- 16.18 %
Spain 2-0 Uruguay
- 11.24 %
|World - FIFA Confederations Cup (FCC)||16 Jun 2013||Spain 2 - Uruguay 1|
|International Friendlies (FR)||6 Feb 2013||Spain 3 - Uruguay 1|
|19 Nov 2013||South Africa 1 - Spain 0||FR|
|16 Nov 2013||Equatorial Guinea 1 - Spain 2||FR|
|15 Oct 2013||Spain 2 - Georgia 0||WCQE|
|11 Oct 2013||Spain 2 - Belarus 1||WCQE|
|10 Sep 2013||Spain 2 - Chile 2||FR|
|6||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|22||Jesús Navas González||Midfielder|
|-||Néstor Muslera Micol|
The former Valencia playmaker arrives on the back of a hugely productive season in England with Chelsea, and is likely to get the nod for Spain's first match of the Confederations Cup after netting in their friendly win over the Republic of Ireland in New York. The overabundance of talent in the Spanish ranks has restricted Mata to only 25 caps with the senior side - a record he will be desperate to improve during the course of this tournament.
The Salto-born forward is one of the most sought-after signatures in the summer transfer window after firing Napoli to a second-place finish in Serie A by netting 29 goals in 34 appearances. Cavani will be full of confidence after scoring the winner in the crucial World Cup qualifier against Venezuela on Tuesday - a result that keeps Uruguay still in touch of an automatic qualification berth.
Despite the Confederations Cup being little more than a warm-up exercise for next summer's World Cup, Spain will find plenty to motivate them as they bid to improve on their third place finish last time out. Uruguay are also in a decent run of form after back-to-back wins over France and Venezuela and should offer a sterner test to the world champions than they did in that friendly defeat in February.
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed