Liechtenstein 0-4 Spain: David Villa Equals Raul's Record 44-Goal Tally As La Furia Roja Dismantle Hosts
David Villa becomes joint top-scorer for Spain in comfortable win for Vicente del Bosque's men
By Luke Matthews
Spain kicked off their defence of the European Championship with an emphatic victory over minnows Liechtenstein at the Rheinpark Stadium in Vaduz. The night also saw David Villa become joint record goal-scorer for the Spanish national team with the legendary Raul. Villa's record equalling super-strike was sandwiched between two classy efforts from Fernando Torres. David Silva completed the rout on the hour mark.
La Furia Roja settled into their infamous flowing style from the offset. Villa could have opened the scoring as early as the second minute. A brilliant cross from Andres Iniesta was met by the Barcelona player's head only for Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle to make a brilliant point blank save.
Liechtenstein competed well throughout the opening period but were penetrated by a trademark Iniesta through-ball. The Barcelona play-maker slipped a pass through to Fernando Torres on 17 minutes who then beautifully lobbed the 'keeper.
Spain continued to control the game and their calm build-up play led to Villa rifling in an unstoppable effort from 25 yards just nine minutes after Spain's opening goal The goal saw the new Barcelona striker equal Raul's record 44 goals for the national side.
Villa could have taken the Spanish goal-scoring record on 36 minutes. Xavi applied the ball through to Villa who had his low one-on-one effort brilliantly saved by Jehle. Five minutes later Torres could have doubled his tally but his far-post effort was tame and was saved comfortably by the 28-year-old shot-stopper.
Xavi and Iniesta spent the majority of the first-half dancing around the Liechtenstein players, their supreme quality obvious for all to see.
The second half started with Spain typically in the ascendency. Xabi Alonso and Gerard Pique came close to adding to Spain's tally early in the second half before Torres showed them how to finish.
Substitute Cesc Fabregas proved to be a clone-like replacement for Xavi as his ghost-pass put in the Liverpool striker.
This time Torres went for power over precision and the unlucky Jehle could do nothing about the near-post strike. Torres was replaced by David Silva three minutes later but not before he received a rapturous applause from the away supporters.
Silva made an almost immediate impact in the 61st minute with Spain's fourth of the game. The Manchester City summer signing collected a pass from Sergio Busquets just inside the area before turning and driving the ball past the right hand of the outstretched 'keeper. Liechtenstein were unable to combat Spain's flowing football and the game became damage limitation for the country who have only won three games in their previous five European qualifying campaigns.
Despite his best efforts, Villa could not add to his terrific tally. The Barcelona man missed a glorious opportunity in the 90th minute but could not find the net with an opening goal gaping, instead finding the bar. Spain now head into a midweek friendly with Argentina where Villa will be hoping to become Spain's outright record top-scorer.
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