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Jun, 24, 2013

Keshi buoyed despite Nigeria exit

Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi insists his side's Confederations Cup campaign cannot be considered a failure, despite Sunday's exit following a 3-0 defeat to Spain.

• Bennett: Spain prepare for Italy

The Super Eagles finished third in Group B following the loss and Uruguay's win over Tahiti, although a positive performance against the South American champions and a 6-1 rout of Oceania's minnows provided cause for optimism.

Keshi believes the tournament will prove a significant learning curve as Nigeria look to cement their spot at next year's World Cup.

"We lost the match because we played against a better side, a team that has been good for a very long time," he told a press conference after their defeat to Spain. "If you look at the game - three goals was not fair. But, this is football and it happens.

"When you look at the other teams, they have their complete team, their first-team. In the last few matches we lost four or five key players and today we lost another key player at centre-half [Kenneth Omeruo], it was damaging. It's football, we have to live with it.

"It's a learning process for us, we just have to continue what we started tonight and build. This is a team that hardly ever goes down 2-0 and when put in that position, they lost the composure, the shape of the team. It was a major problem.

"In the first half we were very composed, but when we conceded the second goal in the second half, we became unprofessional. We need more experience.

"The teams and the coaches that I spoke with have been very educational for us. We're going back with some sort of education from this tournament."

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