Spain vs. Scotland  3 - 1

Article

Euro 2012 qualifying: Spain 3 Scotland 1

11 October 2011 23:02

A David Silva brace and David Villa's strike ensured Spain defeated Scotland 3-1 to keep their perfect Euro 2012 Group I qualifying record.

Scotland required a win in Alicante to confirm their playoff spot, but the hosts wasted no time in stamping their authority on Tuesday's match, keeping the ball effortlessly for the opening minutes of the game.

Their possession paid off in the fifth minute when David Villa sent a pass down the left of the Scotland box for debutant Jordi Alba, who pulled the ball back into the box for David Silva.

The Manchester City forward squeezed a left-footed shot underneath Scotland goalkeeper Alan McGregor at his near post to open the scoring.

Scotland created a half chance three minutes later when Barry Bannan showed admirable determination to pick up a loose ball on the right-hand side and whip a deep cross to the back post for Steven Naismith, who could only manage to head wide on the stretch.

In front of a vibrant crowd, the home nation almost doubled their lead on the 40th minute when Santiago Cazorla twisted and turned in Scotland's box before scuffing a right-footed shot away.

His effort still looked destined towards the bottom left corner until Alan McGregor somehow got down to turn the ball round the post with a strong right arm.

But Silva did find a second for himself and Spain in the 43th minute.

Picking up the ball on the right wing, the Manchester City man cut inside on his left foot before exchanging a neat one-two with Pedro.

He placed a sliding shot through the legs of Christophe Berra into the bottom left corner, with McGregor having no chance.

David Villa scored his 50th goal for Spain on the 54th minute when Cazorla, Pedro, and Silva all linked up in the final third before the ball found its way to the Barcelona striker, who calmly calmly slotted the ball into the bottom right corner from inside the area.

Scotland were given a lifeline, albeit an extremely narrow one, in the 64th minute when Craig Mackail-Smith was brought down in the box by the on-rushing Victor Valdes.

David Goodwillie - who had come on as a substitute just one minute earlier - dispatched the penalty expertly into the top left corner.

Despite a valiant effort, Scotland will now relinquish their playoff place to the Czech Republic, who won 4-1 against Lithuania.

Spain qualify to the Euro 2012 Championships as group winners.

Article

Torres gets Mata backing

10 October 2011 04:43

Juan Mata has defended Spain and Chelsea team-mate Fernando Torres after the striker was criticised for failing to score for his country once again.

Torres has not found the back of the net for Spain since bagging a goal in a 4-0 friendly win over the USA in June.

Prior to that, his last goal for Vicente del Bosque's side came in September 2010, when he scored a double in a 4-0 Euro 2012 qualifying win over Liechtenstein.

But Mata is not concerned and said the Chelsea striker had the full backing of his international colleagues.

"I live with Torres on a daily basis and he is really eager to score for both Chelsea and Spain," Mata told AS.com.

"He has played some excellent games for us and I am sure he will continue showing his good form."

Spain take on Scotland in their Euro 2012 Group I qualifier on Tuesday. They are already through to next year's finals in Poland and Ukraine, but Mata does not expect motivation to be a problem against a Scotland side needing a win to confirm its own progression.

"Those who play Spain always want to do well and it is an important game for them. They will want to create problems for us. But, there are no easy games. In any case, you don't just win just to be champions," he said.