Two goals from Jordi Alba and one for Fernando Torres gave Spain a 3-0 win over Nigeria to set up a semi-final clash with Italy.
Vicente Del Bosque’s men went into the game knowing that a win would see them top the group, and it didn’t take long for them to get Victor Enyeama working in the Super Eagles’ goal. Andres Iniesta wriggled his way through and shot at the Lille man, only for his effort to be saved. Two minutes later though, it was 1-0. Alba waltzed his way into the box, before shooting low past the goalkeeper.
Stephen Keshi’s men weren’t down heartened however and almost equalised midway through the half, only for John Obi Mikel’s shot to be deflected over the bar. Sunday Mba also made Victor Valdes work, as did Joseph Akpala, but the African champions just weren’t firing in front of goal.
Roberto Soldado had two golden opportunities to double La Roja’s lead, but missed, and Cesc Fabregas hit the post late on to ensure Spain went into the break only up by a single goal.
After the interval, the heat and humidity in Fortaleza were clearly taking their toll as the game was reduced to almost half-pace.
The introduction of Torres on an hour though, changed the World Cup-winner’s fortunes – Pedro’s cross from the left-hand side found the Chelsea man, who was there to head home from close range.
Mohammed Gambo and Ahmed Musa had good chances to pull one back for Nigeria late on, but both of them fluffed their lines. Alba made them pay with two minutes remaining as he raced clear and rounded the goalkeeper to give La Roja a 3-0 victory.
Spain 3-0 Nigeria
Scorers: Alba 3, 88 (S), Torres 62 (S)
Spain: Valdes, Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas (Silva 54), Iniesta, Soldado (Torres 60), Pedro (Villa 75)
Nigeria: Enyeama, Ambrose, Omeruo (Egwuekwe 10), Oboabona, Echiejile, Mikel, Ogude, Mba (Ogu 64), Ideye, Akpala (Gambo 71), Musa