Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Spain v Honduras

Spain 2 - 0 Honduras
Villa 17, 51

The big news for Spain was that Torres was starting. In the end, it was Villa's night.

They combined in Spain's first big attack, when Villa's cross found Torres unmarked in the box, but his miskick spun into Valladares' welcoming arms. In the next attack Villa went alone. His shot, from 35 yards and out of nothing, hit the Honduran bar, with the keeper nowhere.

You sensed it would be a long night for the semi-professional defence. Ramos headed over a Xavi cross, Villa cut inside but his shot missed, and then they scored.

It was a Villa solo effort again. He came in from the left again, nipped easily past Mendoza and Guevara, dinked it to the right of Chavez and shot. The keeper did remarkably well even to get a hand on it, but there was no way he was keeping it out.

They could have had more before the break. Xavi headed Navas' cross just over, the ball having come to him a few inches too high, Then Ramos put it on Torres' head soon afterwards. Torres' header hit the ground hard and bounced over, the story of his night. Soon after that he was wrongly given offside, and just before the break his shot was blocked. Pranav Soneji on the BBC website asked how come he hadn't scored yet, but if anyone knew they weren't texting in.

Villa settled any persistent Spanish nerves on 51 minutes. He hit Xavi's pass on the edge of the box perfectly well but was perhaps lucky to see it get a slight deflection and spin over the goalkeeper's arms.

Ten minutes later he missed a penalty, after Izaguirre had brought down Navas. It looked goalbound, sending Valladares the wrong way, but went just the wrong side of the post. It didn't matter.

Midway through the second half, Fabregas came on for Xavi. He beat the offside trap, took it round the keeper with his first touch and shot, only to see it cleared off the line. Villa had a great chance blocked by Mendoza's athletic recovery tackle, to stop him getting his hat trick, while Navas and Ramos both had chances.

In the end, Honduras held out at two nil. They had a couple of chances of their own, Georgie Welcome spurning the chance for more name-based punning by heading wide from a free kick, but there was only one winner.

That was the end of the second round of games. Everyone has now played twice, and has one group game left, so this was the last game to leave a team's fate undecided. Now it all comes down to Spain against Chile. Can't wait.

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