SPAIN book ITALY date

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World and European champions defeat Nigeria 3-0 in last Confed Cup group match World and European champions Spain stayed on course for the title they have never won when they beat African champions Nigeria 3-0 to reach the Confederations Cup semifinals on Sunday.Two excellent goals from defender Jordi Alba, one of eight Barcelona players in the starting lineup, and a fifth of the tournament from Fernando Torres gave Spain a third successive win and top spot in Group B.They stretched their unbeaten run in competitive games to 28, going back to their 0-1 defeat to Switzerland at the 2010 World Cup, and have not lost at all since England beat them in a friendly in November 2011.They will face Italy, the team they beat 4-0 to win the European title in Kiev a year ago, at Fortaleza’s Castelao in Thursday’s semifinal.Alba slalomed his way past four opponents and got a lucky deflection off the shin of defender Kenneth Omeruo before firing home from eight metres for a wonderful goal in the third minute.Chances regularly fell to both sides in an exciting end-to-end game with John Obi Mikel, Joseph Akpala and Brown Ideye all going close for Nigeria, who played without fear and continually pounded forwards.At the other, Soldado had two good chances to increase Spain’s advantage before the break but was twice thwarted by Nigeria keeper Vincent Enyeama.Cesc Fabregas then held his head in disbelief when he strode on to a cross from Soldado but, with only Enyeama to beat, shot against the post with the rebound flying straight into the goalkeeper’s grasp.It was a different story after halftime with Spain midfielders Andres Iniesta and Xavi typically keeping possession for long periods. One of those moves produced a sublime second goal for Torres, who got away from marker Godfrey Oboabona to head in David Silva’s perfect cross.

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