Luis Suarez netted a brilliant free kick goal in the dying minutes of Uruguay's Confederations Cup opener, softening the blow for his team, but don't let the scoreboard fool you. Even though it appears that Uruguay posted a very respectable 2-1 loss to Spain, they were never involved in the match. At one point, they were so poor that a neutral crowd began to boo them mercilessly.
Spain asserted their dominance instantly and never let go of control of the match in the first half. At the time when Cesc Fabregas hit the post with a brilliant strike, in the 10th minute, La Roja had 90 percent of the possession. Uruguay still hadn't strung together consecutive passes in their final third when Pedro struck the opening goal in the 20th minute, with Diego Lugano aiding him by redirecting his shot and rendering it unstoppable.
Uruguay showed a brief sign of life in the 29th minute when Edinson Cavani had a header saved by Iker Casillas, but that was the only thing of note that his side did in the first half. Three minutes later, Roberto Soldado turned in a pass from Fabregas to make it 2-0 and the game was as good as over.
It didn't take long for Uruguay to look like they had completely given up on the game in the second half and the fans booed and jeered their less than enthusiastic effort. Spain, with no incentive to take risks, simply passed the ball around in circles. They had a couple of decent shots -- Andres Iniesta had their best opportunity -- but both sides produced very little of note.
With the game looking all but over, Suarez scored an absolutely marvelous free kick in the 88th minute, tying Diego Forlan's record as all-time leading scorer for the country. He was one of few players who performed well in the match, and was much more the victim of a lack of help from his teammates than any lack of effort on his own part.
That goal might have set up a nervy finish in another game, but Spain never looked like conceding again. In fact, they should have had a late free kick on the edge of the box and a man advantage in stoppage time. Soldado was hauled down by Alvaro Gonzalez, who clipped him from behind to deny a clear goal-scoring opportunity, but the referee told Soldado to get up.
With three points in hand, Spain now await Tahiti and a Nigeria team who initially refused to get on the plane to Brazil due to a financial dispute with their federation. It seems safe to say that this result guarantees them a semifinal place.