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29 February 2012
• Estadio La Rosaleda, Málaga
Referee: A. Treimanis
• Attendance: 25000
David Silva 40'
Soldado 49', 54', 84'
And on that note our LIVE coverage of Spain's 5-0 thrashing of Venezuela comes to an end, but the football never sleeps. I've been Daniel Quinton-Navarro, and that as they say is that.
Well, quite something that from Spain and the perfect result ahead of Poland & Ukraine. I can imagine only one Spaniard will be quietly disappointed with that outcome; one Fernando Torres.
90' + 2'
And that's that. The game finishes with Venezuela playing down the clock, a truly remarkable performance from the European and world Champions. Warning message sent.
90' + 1'
Two minutes added, time. One has gone and Soldado comes close to a fourth but he can't direct his effort on goal and it's a goal kick.
MUNIAN! SO CLOSE! The debutant does brilliantly to take it past his marker on the left side, the through the legs trick again, and unselfishly looks to find Soldado in the middle. The ball ricochets back to him through and he instinctively prods it towards goal but the angle appeared impossible and it was as is effort went behind via the upright.
Edgar Fernando Pérez Greco
And it is the Malaga man who looks to drill it low past the wall, which was perfectly placed as it hid the goal as Cazorla's effort went wide of the post.
Free-kick for Spain on the edge of the penalty area after Munian was felled, literally six Spaniards were standing over it and one stage but it looks like Cazorla to hit it......
And the hosts are doing their utmost to continue that trend with Munian, Soldado and Cazorla all shifting the ball quickly but Venezuela - to their credit - are sticking to their task and looking to stop them from getting a sixth.
The goals have come in two so far....
SOLDADO! GOAL! HAT-TRICK STRIKE! Redemption for the Valencia man, and it's all smiles for Spain as he finishes off a great move. Alba, wide on the left, nutmegs Rosales before sending a low cross in for Soldado who simply, cannot miss with the easiest of tap-ins.
Navas collects the ball wide on the right, this guy gives Spain a completely different dimension. He does the winger textbook stuff superbly, and on this occasion Navas puts his head down before driving forward, the Sevilla man then swings in a cross which is a bit close to Dani who comfortable holds but still, he nearly had it all there.
Jordi Alba is playing as winger, and Pique as striker here as the two combine with cross and header but the Barcelona man's header loops wide of the far post.
Miguel Ángel Mea Vitali
Pass of the game from Cazorla there, he is in the middle of the pitch around three yards back from the penalty area and he flights the ball perfectly into the path of Jordi Alba who controls it first time.
Soldado doesn't want a third goal it would seem here! Cazorla puts in a simply incredible cross which finds the Valencia man two yards from goal and he side foots it towards goal but it is so tame that Dani manages to flick it clear with his boot. Soldado then looks to tee-up Navas but the Sevilla man drags his shot wide.
Munian is in the thick of it already as he tests the palms of Dani with a stinging shot, nearly a dream start that.
Wonderful flick from Soldado who manages to semi-control a ball into the area before back heeling the ball into the path of Cazorla. The Malaga man replicates the skills with a quick flick but Vizcarrondo manages to take the ball away.
And he comes into the action, can he have a debut to remember. Couldn't have asked for a better match really.
Munian is stripped and ready to come on for his senior debut, as the 19-year-old is in deep conversation with Vincente Del Bosque. Coming of age.
Simple stuff from Spain now as they look to tire the legs of their South American counterparts, who being four down are having to be more inventive and forceful with their forward play.
Quick passing from La Roja in the middle of the pitch before they spread the ball wide to Cazorla, but the Malaga man has to check and come back to Fabregas in the middle.
Yellow CardCesc Fàbregas
Spain continue to control the match and they come again as Soldado shows his feet before laying it off to Jesus Navas. The Valencia striker puts his head down and bursts into the box managing to get on Navas' low cross and but for a superb last ditch challenge from Vizcarrondo would have had is hat-trick.
Amorebieta in all of that was the last man, and what is consider unusual in a friendly match is shown a red card. Is it a case of how many for Spain now?
Andres Tuñez Arceo
Penalty saveD. Hernández
Missed PenaltyRoberto Soldado
MISSED PENALTY! Soldado looks still in shock as he steps up to take the penalty and it is tame effort just left of center - as he is looking at the goal - and Dani manages to turn it away with his legs.
PENALTY!! Spain clear at pace and Soldado is put clear through, he touches the ball beyond an onrushing Dani and will have a simple tap-in but for Amorebieta who drags the Valencia player back.
And they do so at pace, and Arango looks to beat Pique to the ball in an attempt to race clear through but the Barcelona defenders sliding challenge is perfect and Spain clear.
Despite the change in personnel it is the same old Spain spreading the ball easily around the midfield but a mistake from Xavi - yes, you did read that right, allows the South Americans to burst forward.
Jesús Navas González
The second effort is similarly struck but rebounds off Venezuela players head allowing Xabi Alonso to calmly clear, and here come some further substitutions....
And it is hit hard, and looks on target but for Jordi Alba who succeeds in his wall duties. But it is going to be take two as the referee blows for handball from Alba, and rightly so.
Venezuela are urged forward from their coach, Cesar Farias and they win a free-kick some 30-yards out and it looks like this is going to be a direct effort.
Remarkable cross that from Arbeloa that created the simplest of goals for the Valencia striker who ran straight towards him, as much his goal as Soldado's.
Torres, who's Torres?
........GOAL! SOLDADO! He bags a five minute brace with a wonderful take and it is all down to Arbeloa. The former-Liverpool defender does brilliantly down the right to dig out a superb cross which Soldado manages to help to net with a wonderful volley.
On Twitter: @Kishanth1988 says: "SOLGADO should be in spain team, no place for torres unless he become old torres". Fair point considering....
SOLDADO!!!!!! GOAL!!!!!! And because they never manage to clear it Spain came again and Fabregas is aware of Cazorla's desire for a give-and-go and the Barca man back heels the ball into his team-mates path. Cazorla then evades the 'keeper despite appearing second best and drills a low cross, intended for Alonso but Soldado's boot somehow turned the ball into the net.
Cazorla and Silva combine on the far side and it is a start of a decent move from the Spanish that Venezuela never seem to be able to clear.
Soldado comes close to making an immediate impact as he looks to turn away from the last defender on the shoulder but he is caught up. Despite falling to the ground the Valencia striker isn't given the decision and play continues, different type of player to Llorente is Soldado. More, Torres-esque you could say?
Andrés Iniesta Luján
All the players, bar the two 'keepers are within 30 yards of each other in the middle of the pitch and there is some altercation between Fabregas and Rincon but the referee is quickly to remind them that it is a "friendly" game. Drop ball, Casillas to resume from deep is the result of that one.
Confusion here over the restart as none of the players seemed to be ready, apart from the two standing over the ball. But, yes, we are back under way.
As expected there have been substitutions at half-time, and all the confirmation will be coming your way any second now - one I can tell you now is the introduction of Soldado.
In lieu of the Spain squad to be announced ahead of Euro 2012, Jymsenal from Kenya thinks that "Arteta and Enrique should be given a place. They are capable of doing something." Who do you think Del Bosque should take, as always, Tweet away.
Remember, feel free to share any thoughts you might have via Twitter - @dquintonnavarro and I will try to get them up.
45' + 1'
And that's the half for Spain, riveting stuff from the world Champions so far as they have been unplayable at times. Saying that, Venezuela have had a couple of sights of goal and should they find that extra quality they just might be able to make something of this match.
Absolute class from Iniesta who controls the ball from behind him with a flick of his boot bringing it into his path and then evades the sliding challenge with nifty quick work. Magic.
But here come La Vinotinto attacking the Spanish defence with intent and they could have caused problems had Rincon's pass not been over hit into the feet of Miku. The Getafe man manages to reach it through and tries to cross but the ball catches his own foot before going out for a goal kick.
Quiet a remarkable few minutes from the hosts but it is simply what the have been doing all game. Football at its purest.
GOAL! GOAL! DAVID SILVA! Wonderful strike from the Manchester City man as Spain once again work the ball from deep, as the move it further up the field Silva becomes more and more involved. He darts inside following a simple tap pass and when it is returned to him he has space just inside the area and using his favoured left peg simple curls the ball into the bottom corner.
Spain had a bit of luck in the build up that opening goal as the ball rebounded off of Vizcarrondo, but besides that it was a testament to their passing ethic that has been evident throughout.
GoalAndrés Iniesta Luján
INIESTAAAAAA!!! GOAL! GOAL! It has been coming and the Barcelona man provides that bit of quality when he sweeps the ball into the net first-time just inside the penalty area following a brilliant pull-back.
Rondon is working hard up top for his side, chasing everything down and always offering but is beginning to cut a frustrated figure which he takes on Alba with a trivial foul.
PIQUE!! Massive chance as Dani comes off his line in an attempt to punch clear the cross but is easily beaten to it by the Barcelona defender who directs his header over the top.
But Spain, determined to play football, take them quickly and Arbeola turns in a cross towards Fabregas arriving late and his effort his deflected behind for a corner kick.
The game has just lost a bit of momentum as the official has had to pull up a couple of Venezuela's midfielders for fouls in the middle of the park.
Venezuela show some attacking intent with some wonderful football. They work the ball forward with a neat inter-change of passes which ends in Rondon coming away from goal, the Malaga man succeeds in turning an getting a shot away but he is leaning back and it carriers on rising as it sails over the bar.
SILVA!! There he is again, being allowed to face goal and he hits a vicious shot on the run that swerves dramatically in the air and Dani is lucky to see his touch result in the ball bouncing over the top of the crossbar.
And Spain come again, this time Llorente comes to the edge of the area and has half a yard. The Bilbao man opts to try a snap shot that Dani does well to hold onto as it was fiercely hit.
Silva gets the ball for the first time in space which gives him the opportunity to turn and face the goal. The Manchester City star finds Llorente but in attempting to return the ball Amorebieta reads it well and momentarily clears.
Small spaces, close proximity to the opposition: no problem. Spain work it out from an impossible position and suddenly Alba is putting in a dangerous low cross which goes across goal asking to be turned home but it goes all the way across.
Venezuela are looking to close down further up the pitch for a couple of minutes but it isn't before long that they are back defending on their penalty spot. And in doing so Iniesta lifts a ball over the midfield and Fabregas comes to within a whisker of directing the bouncing ball towards goal.
One end to another in a space of a minute, first Llorente just can't reach the ball after taking it down on his chest and the chance goes and Venezuela launch a quick counter. However, despite it being three against three Miku looks to take it past Ramos but the Real Madrid defender simply ushers the ball out of play.
INIESTA!!! And that was so nearly it. After a sustained period of possession from Spain Fabregas slides a gorgeous through ball into the path of Iniesta. The Barcelona man looked towards goal before lashing an effort but Dani, who had remained upright, made a brilliant stop to deny Iniesta from giving Spain the lead.
The South Americans aren't seeing much of the ball but they are very disciplined without it. They seem to want the Spanish midfield to dictate play, which is a dangerous game as eventually they will find a way through.
Huge chance that could have been for La Vintinto had Arango controlled that ball as with Rondon in support they would only have had Ramos to beat. As it happened though he couldn't and Spain escape.
Magical passing from the Spanish contingent of Fabregas, Iniesta, Silva and Alonso - fearful midfield that as they keep the ball deep in their opponents half but this time it comes together as Vizcarrondo clears.
First sign of Fernando Llorente for Spain and typically it comes from an aerial ball. Silva, Iniesta and Fabregas combine superbly on the edge of the area before the Manchester City man finds an eager Arebola on the right touchline. He takes a touch to get the ball out from his feet before swinging in a dangerous cross which the Bilbao man heads towards goal, easy enough save for Dani though.
Alba comes forward again on the near touchline but the full-backs cross is over hit, so much so that it goes out for a throw in on the far side.
Spain, in their uncustomary blue, are beginning to dominate the contest and are playing quick, one touch football in and around the Venezuelan penalty area before Amorebieta does well to hack the ball away.
And Venezuela break from the chance with two against three, in Spain's favour, at the time being before Xabi Alonso tracks back and dispossess Rondon.
SERGIO RAMOS!!! WOODWORK!! Silva takes the corner short before getting the ball back and he swings in a perfect cross. Ramos, who is coming away from goal manages to direct the ball towards the target but watches hopelessly as his effort comes back off the crossbar.
Jordi Alba does well on the near side to get out of tight spot and that is enough to kick start a fluent Spanish move. The work the play across the pitch to the opposite flank where Arbeloa provides the width and his pass inside finds Fabregas who nearly finds Silva with a delicate through ball forcing a corner.
The South Americans are looking lively in the early exchanges and suddenly Casillas is forced to palm the ball away. Rondon is played in down the the side of Pique and the Malaga takes a touch before unleashing a shot toward the near post which the Spanish stopper is equal to.
Spain, ala Barcelona begin the match by playing neat and intricate passes in between themselves. The ball falls to Cesc in the middle of the park and his neat lay off has Iniesta advancing but he is quickly surrounded by men in red.
Usual pleasantries in the middle; coin toss, handshake, and turn towards your team. And finally, their it is, the referee moves whistle to lips and we are underway in Malaga!
Eight of the 11 players in the Spanish XI either ply their trade with Barcelona or Real Madrid. That is quite something, quite something.
Mightily close to kick-off here in Malaga as the Spanish national anthem resides out at La Rosaleda in a passionate display, expect fireworks.
If you were Del Bosque would Torres be on the plane to Poland & Ukraine, tweet your opinions to @dquintonnavarro.
A montage of Fernando Torres' glaring misses from this season, including that incredible miss against Manchester United, is currently being shown - evidence as to why he isn't here Malaga tonight perhaps?
And in respect of that last FACT, Malaga's Salomon Rondon, playing in familiar surroundings, named in the Starting XI has claimed that his side are not afraid of the world and European Champions and talked about the personal significance for himself after he missed the first friendly against Spain.
FACT: Spain have lost three of their last four International friendlies.
The visitors tonight in Malaga are currently involved in their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup and are joint top of the standings alongside Argentina, as they seek to remove their tag as the only South American side never to have made the finals of the competition.
Del Bosque said that despite Torres not being in the squad to face Venezuela that it doesn't rule him out of the Euros in the summer: "His performances recently have been a bit irregular but…there is a lot of time and plenty of chances for him to find his touch before the Euros."
FACT: This is the first time Fernando Torres has been dropped, if fully fit, from the Spanish International side since 2006.
Some may not have been surprised tonight had La Roja not lined up with a recognised No. 9. Iker Munian alongside Premiership duo Juan Mata and David Silva could all have played in advanced roles.
FACT: Athletic Bilbao's Iker Munian is earning his first call-up to the Senior International side.
Spain coach, Vincente del Bosque's decision to omit Chelsea's Fernando Torres from his squad for the visit of the South American side will leave the striker sweating on his place for the Finals in Poland & Ukraine with Roberto Soldado, Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo - injured for tonight's match - all offering alternatives in the attacking department.
Venezuela Starting XI (4-2-2-2): Dani; Rosales, Vizcarrondo, Amorebieta, Quijada; Mea Vitali, Rincon; Alvarez, Arango; Miku, S. Rondon
Spain Starting XI (4-3-3): Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Fabregas, Busquets, Alonso; Iniesta, Llorente, Silva.
BREAKING TEAM NEWS: Llorente dons the No. 9 shirt for Spain, whilst La Liga duo Rondon and Amorebieta start for the South Americans.
As always you guys can share you opinions and thoughts of the game - predictions, teams, anything football related - by tweeting @dquintonnavarro.
Welcome, one and all, to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of Spain - Venezuela, and a final chance to assess the current European Champions ahead of this summers competition. Sit back, and enjoy by order of Daniel Quinton-Navarro (Twitter: @dquintonnavarro).
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