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EC Qualification

  • 11 October 2011
  • • 19:45
  • • Estadio José Rico Pérez, Alicante
  • Referee: S. Johannesson
  • • Attendance: 27559

Spain 3-1 Scotland: David Silva scores twice in first-half rout as spirited Scots miss out on play-off spot

Spain 3-1 Scotland: David Silva scores twice in first-half rout as spirited Scots miss out on play-off spot


A display of quality and class from Vicente Del Bosque's side sees hosts into Euro 2012 with a 100% record in Group I and Tartan Army without a major finals appearance since 1998

Scotland have failed in their bid to reach the Euro 2012 play-offs after they were methodically beaten 3-1 by a Spain side which oozed quality in every department.

A pair of first half goals from Manchester City’s David Silva and another in the second half from David Villa put Vicente Del Bosque’s side through top of Group I with a perfect record and left Scottish hopes of reaching Poland and Ukraine in tatters.

A penalty from David Goodwillie in the seond period was no more than a conselation as the hosts cruised to victory and looked a class act in the process.

To compound matters for Scotland, a convincing win for the Czech Republic against Lithuania in the other match meant that only victory in Alicante would have been enough for the Tartan Army.

Craig Levein’s side were unchanged after the win in Liechtenstein on Saturday with Craig Mackail-Smith operating as a lone striker, whilst Spain dropped Fernando Torres to the bench but still had Silva, Villa and Pedro up front.

Thousands of Scottish fans took the opportunity to head to the Costa Blanca to cheer on their side but they were soon forced to marvel at the brilliance of Spain.

They were given a display of their talents swiftly when Silva finished off a smooth passing move which involved Villa and debutant Jordi Alba after neat work on the left wing. Silva’s clever finish, which he slid under Allan McGregor was testament to the gulf between the two sides.

Scotland did manage to show moments when a breakthrough could have come, a cross to the far post was casually defended by Spain and Steven Naismith was the beneficiary as his darting run beat Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique but his finish wasn’t quite there.

As was predicted, Spain held the ball for huge amounts of the game leaving Scotland with no reply as they chased the game with Barcelona’s Xavi at the centre of the carousel. The midfield focal point was directing traffic from the heart of the team and his passes were distributed to every area of the pitch.

Spain could have doubled the lead within 20 minutes when a cross aimed for Puyol was headed wide - the Barcelona captain was displeased with his effort.

Naismith was the most effective of the Scottish forwards early on as Mackail-Smith was doing a lot of chasing but getting little in front of goal for his tireless work. The Rangers man could have earned a penalty as his run in from the left was effective but a clean tackle from Pique snuffed out the danger with little fuss.

As the half drew towards its end, Silva showed his wonderful talent again when a solo run in from the right required a simple one-two with Pedro to continue it and the City man smashed home to double the lead. The Scottish defence were helpless as Silva's spread them enough to allow the jinking run through the resulting gaps.

With the result no longer in doubt Spain were back to moving the ball with ease and comfort and this resulted in the third goal after the break.

Silva's runs were still causing chaos and he turned provider when his pass across the box was hammered home by Villa - his 50th in international football. The movement off the ball from all involved was key in the goal and was an example of how easy Spain can make passing football look.

Scotland fans were given something to cheer after Levein changed the approach, brought on a second striker and instructed his side to apply some pressure.

A Scottish corner led to Mackail-Smith being brought down by Victor Valdes, who astonishingly was making his competitive debut for the hosts. Substitute Goodwillie was chosen to take the kick and the cheekiest of chips beat Valdes and gave Scotland faint hope.

Spain reverted to their usual ploy of ball retention and eventually saw out victory after an end-to-end closing phase of the match resulted in half chances which were wasted by both teams.

The visitors will now look to make a better fist of their efforts to reach the next World Cup, while Del Bosque's team look towards defending their European crown.

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