Spain vs. Haiti  2 - 1

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International Friendly: Spain 2 Haiti 1

9 June 2013 00:40

Spain continued their preparations for the Confederations Cup with a straightforward 2-1 victory over Haiti in Miami on Saturday.

The team ranked number one in the world were far from at their best, but first-half goals from Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fabregas were enough to extend their unbeaten streak to 21 matches - a run which stretches back to a 1-0 defeat to England in November 2011.

Wildedonald Guerrier replied for Haiti in the second half, but his side have now lost five games in a row as preparations for their CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign continue to stutter.

Spain were without Barcelona regulars Xavi and Andres Iniesta, but still fielded a side brimming with experienced stars such as Juan Mata, Fabregas and Cazorla.

Haiti, meanwhile, included Jean-Jacques Pierre of Caen and Jess Louis of Nancy in their starting line-up.

The game started in typical fashion for Spain, as they dominated possession, with Cazorla looking particularly threatening playing between the midfield and attack.

And it was the Arsenal man who broke the deadlock in just the eighth minute, after he was awarded too much space by the Haiti defence and found the bottom corner from 25 yards.

Fernando Torres tried an audacious overhead kick just two minutes later, following a terrific ball from Jesus Navas on the byline, only to see his effort go wide.

But the lead was doubled in the 19th minute, as Mata played a delightful chip over the Haiti defence for Fabregas to head over the onrushing goalkeeper.

Mata and Navas both went close for Spain in the aftermath, but the game headed into half-time at 2-0.

The second half started in a similar vein, but substitute Roberto Soldado missed a gilt-edged opportunity to make it 3-0 in the 60th minute, when he dragged a one-on-one opportunity wide of the post.

And in the 75th minute Guerrier made Spain pay for that wastefulness, as he beat the offside trap before taking the ball around Pepe Reina and finishing into an empty net.

In truth, that goal signalled the end of the game as a contest, as Spain simply monopolised possession to see out yet another win.

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Spain 2-1 Haiti: Cesc on target as Spain amble past Haiti

8 June 2013 20:34

Spain showed a fair few jitters ahead of the Confederations Cup as they narrowly beat resilient opponents Haiti in Saturday's friendly in Florida.

Goals from Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fabregas were enough to wrap up a slim win for the reigning European and world champions, with Donald Guerrier grabbing an historic goal for the minnows in the latter stages of the game.

Spain were widely expected to cruise to victory against the Caribbeans, and took just eight minutes to assert their superiority. After patient build-up play, Cazorla was given far too much space and the Arsenal midfielder blasted a left-footed effort into the bottom corner past a sprawling Frandy Montrevil.

Just before the 20-minute mark, the Spaniards were celebrating once more as Fabregas doubled his side's advantage. A wondrous chipped through ball from Juan Mata found Fabregas unmarked in the Haiti penalty area, allowing the Barca man to nod the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper and into the net.

Haiti soon had their opponents troubled a moment later, with Kervens Belfort firing a snapshot narrowly wide of Iker Casillas' post, but the Real Madrid shot-stopper's walk to collect the ball proved to be the sum total of his first-half duties.

Despite changes at the break, Spain predictably continued to dictate proceedings in the second half, but it was Haiti who came closest to scoring the third of the game when Sony raced through on goal on 52 minutes only to stab the ball wide of the post.

The woodwork then came to Haiti's rescue on 70 minutes, much to the frustration of Roberto Soldado. After great work down the left from Andres Iniesta to set the ball square, the Valencia man could only hit the post when it looked easier to score on a rare outing in the Roja jersey.

Spain looked to be cruising to victory, but after 75 minutes, a real moment of history looked to be on the cards. After bursting through the Spanish lines and rounding Pepe Reina composedly, Donald Guerrier steered the ball into an unguarded net from eight yards to spark pandemonium in the stands and trigger thoughts of a miraculous comeback.

Soldado then thought he had wrapped up the game for Spain but once more was thwarted by the woodwork, as he crashed an effort off the bar following Santi Cazorla's through-ball.

Haiti pushed for an equaliser but a block from Cesar Azpilicueta denied Guerrier from grabbing his second. Moments later, Monuma was on hand to dispossess Soldado from three yards out, as the striker continued to rue his luck in front of goal.

Ultimately, however, Spain held on for an uncomfortable if unsurprising victory, but Del Boqsue will have plenty to ponder ahead of the Confederations Cup later this month.

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Del Bosque unconvinced by Spain strikers

6 June 2013 01:59

Spain head coach Vicente del Bosque says he has not been overly impressed by any of his centre-forward options.

Del Bosque said he will continue to use either a false nine or an out-and-out goalscorer up front for the World Cup and European champions, but conceded there was no clear-cut preferred starter ahead of their Confederations Cup campaign in Brazil, starting on June 16.

Each of Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, Fernando Torres and Roberto Soldado have been given opportunities to perform as the number one option up front for Del Bosque, but the jury is still out, according to the 62-year-old.

"We'll be playing with a striker, that's quite clear - even if it's a false number nine or an out-and-out striker. As a rule, every team should play with a number nine but we haven't found one we all like," he told Diario de la Roja.

"Maybe that's our fault. A few have been given run-outs, (Alvaro) Negredo, Torres, Soldado, even Villa hasn't really bowled us over either.

"A striker can spend practically the whole game without having to touch the ball, then he scores a goal and everyone says: 'Well, anyone could have scored that', but he has spent the whole match without a sniff of the ball.

"We need players up front who participate, ones who are visible and actively taking part during the game."

Spain have friendlies with Haiti and the Republic of Ireland prior to their Confederations Cup opener against Uruguay in 10 days' time, and Del Bosque said he was hoping to see Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez shine for Spain.

Martinez has been short of opportunities on the international stage, but the 24-year-old needs to show more hunger for the contest, according to Del Bosque.

"I've said it many times and I won't mince my words - I think he is capable of giving a lot more, he needs to participate more during Bayern's games and exert more control in his own game," he said.

"He performed well in the Champions League final and that's something.

"He's also first choice in the team. Whenever we haven't called him, it's been because we haven't liked how he has been playing but there's never been a problem about that because he's a good lad."

Spain take on Haiti in a friendly in Miami on Saturday, before a run-out against Ireland in New York on Tuesday.