Silky Spain restore order
Villa fires home classy brace to sink struggling Honduras
By James Dall. Last Updated: June 22, 2010 10:58am
Spain celebrate Villa's opener
Two goals from David Villa helped Spain recover from their opening 2010 World Cup setback as they recorded an easy-on-the-eye triumph over Honduras on Monday night in Group H.
After being stunned in their first match against Switzerland, European champions Spain found their shooting boots against the Hondurans in Johannesburg.
Barcelona new boy Villa struck either side of half-time, and missed a second-half penalty, as the Spanish boosted their hopes of reaching the last 16 ahead of their final group game against table-toppers Chile.
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque's response to the shock loss against Switzerland was to start Fernando Torres in the lone striking role, with David Villa moved to the left channel. Speedy winger Jesus Navas was also called upon. Honduras, meanwhile, were boosted by the availability of David Suazo following a leg injury.
The pattern of the game during the early stages was as expected, with Spain dictating the tempo. And they threatened during the opening 10 minutes as Torres saw appeals for a handball in the penalty area waved away and Villa plopped a shot against the crossbar following a strike from distance.
Honduras' Danilo Turcios went into the book in the eighth minute before Sergio Ramos should really have broken the deadlock when he charged in at the back post as Joan Capdevila delivered in a cross. But the Real Madrid defender managed to plant his header over the bar from just a few yards out.
However, on 17 minutes, Spain scored - but only after Honduras twice threatened with Iker Casillas first uncertain and then assured. A cross-field ball found Villa on the left flank and the new Barca signing nipped past two men. The ball then looked too far behind the striker, but somehow he dug out a shot that flew into the far corner with aplomb.
Honduras continued to chase shadows and nearly found themselves 2-0 down before the half-hour mark when Xavi came within an inch of nodding in a Navas cross. Right-back Sergio Mendoza's nightmare, meanwhile, was never-ending as Villa ran riot for fun. But Villa's fellow forward Torres looked less sharp, his finishing rusty.
Spain toying with Honduras showed no sign of relenting, although, after Osman Chavez blocked well from a Navas delivery, Villa can count himself lucky not to have been dismissed in the 42nd minute when he slapped Emilio Izaguirre in the chops. But referee Yuichi Nishimur seemingly never saw it. That said, Izaguirre's reaction was embarrassing to say the least.
Honduras head coach Reinaldo Rueda brought on Georgie Welcome for Roger Espinoza. But it mattered little, for six minutes into the second period, Spain embarked on a routine counter-attack which was concluded by Villa, whose strike flung in via the aid of a Chavez deflection.
The buccaneering Ramos again almost got his name on the scoresheet seconds after the second goal before a wonderful flowing move in the 55th minute failed to find the finish it deserved. Then, on 61 minutes, Spain were awarded a spot-kick.
Referee Nishimura immediately, and correctly, pointed to the penalty spot when Emilio Izaguirre clumsily tripped the tricky Navas. The on-fire Villa stepped up, but surprisingly rolled his effort wide of the post. Del Bosque then had the luxury of bringing on Cesc Fabregas for Xavi.
And the Arsenal captain almost made an instant impact as he raced clear, rounded the keeper but saw his shot from an acute angle cleared away. With 20 minutes remaining, the rusty Torres was hauled off in place of Juan Mata.
As Honduras committed more players forward in hope of a way back into the game, more space opened up for Spain when they sprung forward. But a third goal never came, such was their profligacy and preference to sometimes over-play matters. A win, though, was the prerequisite.
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|6||Shots on Target||0|
|10||Shots off Target||5|