Spain coach Vicente
del Bosque was a happy man after Wednesday's 5-0 drubbing of
Venezuela, saying the world and European champions had achieved
all the goals they set themselves for the friendly in Malaga.
It was a final chance for him to experiment before he names
his final Euro 2012 squad in May and several of the players out
to prove they deserve to be on the plane to Poland in June
responded in emphatic style.
Roberto Soldado, who was recalled to the squad after a
five-year absence to replace the misfiring Fernando Torres, has
surely booked his ticket after he came on at half-time and netted
The tenacious Valencia striker, who failed to score on his
previous two appearances for the national side in 2007, has the
ability to arrive in the right place at the right time and all
three of his goals finished off typically slick passing moves.
He blotted his copybook slightly when his tame penalty,
which he won himself after being hauled down with the empty goal
at his mercy, was saved by Venezuela goalkeeper Daniel Hernandez
but his overall performance drew effusive praise from team-mates.
"It's a privilege to have great forwards in Spain," Santi
Cazorla, who provided the assist for Soldado's first goal, told
"Whoever goes to the European Championships the problem of
scoring goals will be well covered," the Malaga midfielder
"Whenever he plays he seems to score," said defender Alvaro
Arbeloa, who made the pass for Soldado's second. "He took his
chance to perfection."
If Soldado was something of a welcome revelation for Del
Bosque, there were plenty of other reasons for the former Real
Madrid coach to be pleased with his side's dominant performance
against the 2011 Copa America semi-finalists.
Andres Iniesta and David Silva were a constant menace in
their roving attacking roles and it was Iniesta who opened the
scoring in the 37th minute followed by a second scored by Silva
three minutes later.
Cesc Fabregas made the final pass for both goals and the
Barcelona midfielder turned in an assured performance in the
central playmaker role, also getting into goal-scoring positions
several times himself, before being substituted in the second
Jordi Alba and Arbeloa were resolute in defence and
dangerous in attack at left and right-back respectively and
centre-backs Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos already look to have
developed a highly effective partnership.
Real coach Jose Mourinho has switched Ramos, who sent a
header crashing against the crossbar early in the game, from
right-back into the middle and Del Bosque has done the same for
the national side.
"Everything that we had planned panned out well," Del Bosque
told a news conference.
"One of the characteristics and great advantages of this
team is that it allows a lot of variations and all of them are
effective," he added.
Spain will face stiffer opposition than Venezuela at Euro
2012 but on Wednesday's evidence it would be unwise to bet
against them becoming the first country to win back-to-back
European Championships with a World Cup triumph between.
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