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3 June 2012
• Estadio Olímpico de Sevilla, Sevilla
Referee: B. Nijhuis
• Attendance: 45000
David Silva 84'
FULL-TIME: SPAIN 1-0 CHINA. A fantastic second half cameo from Andres Iniesta proved the difference in this friendly match in Seville, as the Barcelona midfielder created a handful of opportunities for his team-mates and had a couple of shots saved. David SIlva scored the goal that separated the two sides, after a fine assist from Iniesta, while Torres and Negredo were guilty of missing chances that should have made it a more comprehensive win for the world and european champions. China impressed on the counter attack in the first half with Zheng Zhi twice coming close to scoring, but they faded dramatically in the second half, and did well to get to 84 minutes with the match goalless. Spain's next match is their first Group C tie against Italy next Sunday, which gives their manager Vicente Del Bosque a week of training to decide on his final starting XI. Thanks for joining me for Goal.com's LIVE coverage of this entertaining match. Good night!
90' + 2'
The referee blows his whistle to mark the end of this game.
90' + 2'
GOALL!! OH, HANG ON, MATA IS OFFSIDE!! A fine move between Alonso and Torres results in a pass to Mata inside the box and he fires the ball into the back of the net from 8 yards, but the linesman has his flag up, and the replay shows that that is the correct decision. He was a couple of yards offside there.
90' + 1'
The referee signals two minutes of injury time.
POOR MISS FROM NAVAS!! Mata slides a pass towards the Sevilla winger from the left-hand side of the penalty area but he is unable to divert the ball towards goal and it runs past him and out for a throw-in.
That goal for Spain was more a matter of when than if, I'm just surprised it took so long for them to score! They have absolutely dominated this second half and could have scored four or five.
Zeng does well to block a shot from Torres before Liu puts in a fine tackle on Silva to stop him from getting a shot away from the edge of the box. That was vital from the China substitute, as Zeng was out of position after making the save from Torres.
Goal David Silva
GOALL!! A great move by Spain is finished off by David SIlva. 1-0 to Spain. It is all about the assist though. That man Iniesta cuts in from the left before driving past Feng and into the penalty area before pulling the ball back to the unmarked Silva 8 yards out.
MORE WONDERFUL PLAY FROM INIESTA!! Spain take a quick corner that reaches Iniesta inside the area, and after toying with the ball in front of two China defenders he sends a shot with the outside of his right foot high towards the top corner that Zeng does well to palm over the crossbar. Somehow, this is still 0-0!
BRILLIANT CHALLENGE FROM FENG!! The China centre-back times his challenge on Torres to perfection right on the edge of the penalty area as the Chelsea striker looks to race through on goal.
Sun Xiang strikes the free-kick well with his left-foot, and Valdes is forced into making a smart save low to his left as the ball arrowed towards the bottom corner.
Yellow Card Fernando Torres
Torres is then shown a yellow card for a foul 25 yards from his own goal after hacking down Gao from behind.
Torres has yet another opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet, but this time he shoots wide rather than over, after a decent pass from Navas on the right sets him up.
SAVE FROM ZENG!! David Silva bursts into the penalty area and drifts past the challenge of Feng before firing a low shot at goal that Zeng does well to keep out and push away from goal.
Yellow Card Lü Peng
David Silva lifts a free-kick in from the left that Torres does well to get on the end of but he is always leaning back as he makes contact with the ball and his header goes high over Zeng's crossbar.
MATCH FACT: Only one player from the squad plays his club football in Europe: Zhang Chengdong of Beira Mar. He is yet to make an appearance in this match.
I can't quite believe Spain haven't scored in this second half. They've had a handful of chances now, with Torres, Albiol and Iniesta all coming close.
Torres latches on to Iniesta's looping pass to poke a shot towards goal that Zeng saves well. The striker is the first to react to the rebound and nicks it just in front of the China goalkeeper before dribbling slightly away from goal and having another shot, but this time it is blocked by Zhao.
Spain make yet another change, with Juan Mata replacing the quiet Santi Cazorla.
TORRES VOLLEYS OVER!! Jordi Alba goes motoring down the left once more, and does really well to dig out a cross on the by-line. It goes all the way to Torres at the back post, and he attempts to volley it with his right foot first time, but his effort flies just over. Great try from the Chelsea man though, he's certainly getting his confidence back being with the national team.
UNBELIEVABLE PLAY FROM INIESTA!! After showing fantastic control to dribble past 5 China players on his way into the area, the Barca man curls a fine effort over Zeng that crashes onto the crossbar. Spain have come within inches of scoring twice in the last few minutes!
ALBIOL HITS THE CROSSBAR!! The Madrid man plants a header onto Zeng's crossbar from 6 yards after getting on the end of SIlva's corner. He should really score!
A fantastic dinked pass from Cazorla finds Silva inside the China area but he slips on the turf allowing Feng to come across and put the ball behind for a Spain corner.
China have offered no attacking threat in this second half so far as Spain's substitutes have had an immediate impact on the game, Andres Iniesta especially.
Yellow Card Xuri Zhao
Zhao is shown a yellow card after chopping Cazorla to the deck in the centre circle. He went right through the back of him there, and that is a deserved booking for the midfielder.
MATCH FACT: Iker Casillas broke the international record for wins, earning his 95th victory with Spain after coming on a substitute in the 4-1 win over South Korea. Fernando Torres bagged his 28th goal for La Furia Roja in the same match to open the scoring.
LOVELY PLAY FROM INIESTA!! The Barca man has made a huge difference despite only being on the pitch nine minutes. He plays a fine one-two with Silva before firing a shot towards goal that Zeng does brilliantly to tip over the bar.
... Xabi Alonso's set piece goes straight into the wall. That's very unlike him!
A foul on Jordi Alba by Zhang on the left results in a free-kick to Spain just to the left of the penalty area...
GREAT PLAY FROM SPAIN!! Andres Iniesta sweeps a first-time ball out to Navas on the right, he has alot to do to get the ball under control, but he does so brilliantly, before racing into the penalty area on the right and firing a hard cross across goal. Unsurprisingly, none of his team-mates were quick enough to catch him and meet his pass.
One of the substitutes Jesus Navas gets the ball in space on the right wing and immediately lifts a cross towards Fernando Torres who is lurking on the penalty spot. Zhao does well to get in front of the striker and head the ball away though. Bright start from Navas.
Jordi Alba has gone down clutching his wrist on the left wing after a challenge from Zhang, but after the customary modern-footballer 20 seconds of agony, he's fine and fit to continue.
Jesús Navas González
Spain get the second half underway here in Seville...
The Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque makes a few changes for this second half, with Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres, Jesus Navas and Victor Valdes replacing Casillas, Negredo, Xavi and Busquets.
HALF-TIME: SPAIN 0-0 CHINA. Few would have predicted this match to be goalless at half-time her in Seville, but it is, and to be honest, China deserve to be level. Camacho's side have played some attractive counter-attacking football in the opening 45 minutes with Zheng Zhi twice coming close to scoring. Spain have also created opportunities to score, with Negredo wasting their best chance when he shot weakly at goal following decent play by Silva and Alba. From that first half, I would be very surprised if this one remains 0-0, as both sides have shown their commitment to attacking football. Join me in 10 minutes for the second half of this finely-poised friendly.
The resulting corner is cleared away by Albiol and the referee decides it is time to blow the whistle for the end of the first half.
China have a throw on the right and Qin Sheng will take it. He's got a mammoth throw on him this boy, and this one causes all sorts of trouble in the Spain box, with Ramos having to head it wide of his own post under pressure from Gao.
Silva strikes it, but it hits the wall and balloons out for a corner kick. Sergio Busquets heads Xavi's corner towards goal but it flies high over Zeng's crossbar.
Spain have a free-kick 25 yards from goal right of centre, after David SIlva is blocked off the ball as he tries to latch on to a flick from Nergedo. Big chance for the world champions here...
MATCH FACT: China last faced Spain in 2005, losing the friendly 3-0 with Torres, Xavi, and Joaquin on the scoresheet.
Spain are being thwarted by a very organised side this evening. Every time they look to play their way into the China penalty area they are faced with a wall of red shirts standing in their way. The speed at which the China midfielders are getting back to help their defence is hugely impressive.
Jordi Alba is having a good game for Spain at left-back and has been involved in a number of their best attacking moves in the opening half hour or so. The Valencia left-back is being heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the Spanish press at the moment, and it is quite understandable why he would be, he's a wonderful talent.
This is real end-to-end stuff here with both sides intent on attacking. China will have surprised a few with their positive play this evening, with many thinking Spain would win this game comfortably.
NEGREDO DRAGS A SHOT WIDE!! The Sevilla striker, playing in his club stadium, has a fantastic chance to give his side the lead after latching on to another delightful little David Silva pass, but his shot is off-target, and drifts a couple of yards wide of Zeng's right-hand post.
WHAT A CHANCE FOR CHINA!! Casillas saves brilliantly with his legs to deny Zheng Zhi after the former Celtic midfielder had sprinted the length of the pitch and connected with a fine cross from the left by Yang Yu.
Spain go up the other end and win a corner of their own after a neat move down the left involving Alba, Silva and Xavi. The resulting set piece is headed away to safety by Zhao Peng and China look to counter...
Like their previous set piece though it amounts to nothing, and is headed out for a throw-in on the far side by Sergio Ramos.
China have another corner, this time on the right, after Jordi Alba is forced into playing the ball behind after some positive running from Zhao Xuri.
Spain have had a monopoly on possession in this game in the opening 23 minutes, 71%!! However, China have come just as close to scoring.
GOOD SAVE FROM CASILLAS!!! The Madrid goalkeeper is forced into making a decent stop from Hao Junmin after the attacker had cut in from the left and struck a firm right-foot effort towards goal.
China win their first corner of the game on the left, but it is headed away to safety by Alvaro Negredo who is helping out at the back for his side.
MATCH FACT: Spain have won all three of their friendlies so far in the year 2012, defeating Venezuela, Serbia and South Korea and only conceding one goal during that time.
That is a wild effort from Albiol... The Real Madrid player finds himself in possession 35 yards from goal, and he decides to have a go, and perhaps wishes he hadn't, as the ball nearly goes out for a throw-in on the left. Oh well, you don't score unless you shoot I suppose...
China are not seeing alot of the ball in Seville now, after looking dangerous in the first five minutes. Spain have a corner on the left, after some decent play from Alba.
Silva nearly plays Negredo clean through with a defence-splitting pass from the right, but Zhao Peng is alert to the danger and stops it with a diving block. Good play from the China defender there.
Spain are looking dangerous going forward in the opening exchanges of this game but they have also looked surprisingly shaky at the back, first Albiol was dispossessed by Gao, before Sergio Ramos just slipped and gifted possession to Quin a few moments ago.
NEGREDO GOES CLOSE!! Jordi Alba does well down the left before slipping the ball through to David Silva on the left-hand side of the China penalty area. He immediately slides the ball towards Negredo in the middle, who fires an effort towards goal that Zeng Cheng does brilliantly to stop.
CASILLAS IS CAUGHT IN NO MAN'S LAND!! Zheng Zhi does briliantly to nick the ball off Raul Albiol and the Spain goalkeeper rushes out to block the attacker but is miles away from doing so. Instead, Zhi dribbles wide, but it turns out too wide, as his eventual shot goes flying into the side netting.
SHOT FROM SILVA!! The Manchester City midfielder flashes a left-foot shot a couple of yards wide after cutting in from the right-hand side.
Spain get the ball down and in control for the first time in the game and start to move it around nicely in the centre of the park, but credit to China, they are hassling their far more illustrious opponents well.
Sergio Busquets gives away a sloppy free-kick after an untidy challenge, before Sergio Ramos is forced into making a last-ditch tackle in the left-back position. This one hasn't started as planned for the world and european champions. They are on the back foot!
China get the ball rolling and immediately send a speculative pass down the left that runs out of play.
The teams are out on the pitch here in Seville and as the Spanish national anthem echoes around the stadium, we are just minutes from getting underway.
CHINA TEAM NEWS: Led by a Spain legend Jose Antonio Camacho, China line up in a fairly adventurous 4-2-3-1 formation, and boast a number of players from Guangzhou Evergrande, who sealed a place in the AFC Champions League quarter-finals last week.
SPAIN TEAM NEWS: Alvaro Negredo starts upfront for the european champions alongside Santi Cazorla and David Silva, while the rest of the team is as expected, with Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Xavi forming a solid midfield three behind the attackers. One concern for Del Bosque's side is that Cesc Fabregas misses this game with a thigh injury, that may also rule him out of their opening Group C tie against Italy.
China (4-2-3-1): Zeng; Sun, Zhao, Zhang, Feng; Zhao, Hao; Zheng, Gao, Yu Hai; Quin
Spain (4-3-3): Casillas; Arbeloa, Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Xabi Alonso, Xavi; Cazorla, Silva, Negredo
Without further ado, here are the starting XIs for both sides:
This is the Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque's last chance to have a look at his 23-man squad in a match situation ahead of Euro 2012, and he will be looking to finalise his starting XI after what he sees from his side tonight. Spain come into the match against China this evening in good form, having won both of their recent friendlies, beating South Korea 4-1 and Serbia 2-0, and are boosted by the availability of the players from Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao following their delayed arrival with the squad following their Copa del Rey exploits.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the international friendly between Spain and China in Sevilla. My name is Charlie Scott, and I will be doing my best to provide you with an entertaining and insightful minute-by-minute commentary of the match as it unfolds.
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