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European Championship Qualifying

Santiago Bernabeu Stadium (ATT 16,000) 25th March 2011 - Kick off 21:00 Ref: V Kassai

Spain Spain vs Czech Republic Czech Rep

Spain 2

D Villa (69, pen 73)

ft

Czech Rep 1

J Plasil (29)

Record-breaker Villa saves Spain

Barcelona forward completes turnaround to overtake Raul

Last Updated: 25/03/11 11:21pm

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Villa: Record-breaker

Villa: Record-breaker

David Villa became Spain's record goalscorer in his own right when he netted twice in a 2-1 Euro 2012 Group I qualifying win over Czech Republic in Granada.

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Jaroslav Plasil's sensational goal had given the Czech's a first-half lead, but Villa then completed the turnaround in the second half to give Spain a perfect 12 points from four games.

The Barcelona forward beat goalkeeper Petr Cech with a low shot in the 69th minute and then converted a penalty in the 73rd to reach 46 international goals, two ahead of former Real Madrid striker Raul.

The win sends Spain six points clear of the Czech Republic at the top of Group I with a 100% record.

It looked at the start of the match like being a routine night for the world and European champions as they dominated the early going.

Iniesta tested Cech after only two minutes, with the Chelsea goalkeeper fumbling his save before gathering, and moments later Joan Capdevila headed narrowly wide.

Iniesta tried again in the 11th minute, but Cech pushed his shot away.

Xavi curled a free-kick wide as Spain continued to probe, while Villa then forced a fantastic save from Cech with a volleyed shot.

Long range

So it was against the run of play that Plasil fired the visitors ahead with a powerful shot from long range that stunned Iker Casillas and the watching fans.

Following all their early chances, Spain struggled for a response, and it was not until late in the first half that they created any more opportunities.

Gerard Pique headed just wide from Xavi's 42nd minute corner, and Villa then brought another save out of Cech with a header.

The goalkeeper then had to punch Xabi Alonso's free-kick clear before holding a Villa shot just before half-time.

Spain were slow to get going in the second half, with a long-range volley from Santi Cazorla which was eye-catching, but easy enough for Cech.

Sergio Ramos headed wide on the hour mark as the frustrations of the hosts grew.

Villa and Iniesta fired wide, and Cech then tipped a Pique header over the bar, leaving Spain wondering what more they could do to score.

Answer

The answer came in the 69th minute when Iniesta teed up Villa to fire home left-footed from the edge of the area for his landmark 45th international goal.

The 29-year-old added a second moments later after Iniesta was felled, firing his penalty into the bottom left-hand corner.

Fernando Torres had come off the bench, but the goal drought which has afflicted him at Chelsea transferred to the international stage as he missed a good chance from close range in the 76th minute.

Plasil could not repeat his heroics as he sent an 81st minute free-kick into the wall in a rare chance for the hosts, while the game ended with one final chance for Villa, which Cech parried.

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Matches

  • European Championship Qualifying

    Fri 25th Mar - Group C
    Fri 25th Mar - Group E
    • Hungary
      0 - 4
      Netherlands
      bet
      TV
    Fri 25th Mar - Group A
    Fri 25th Mar - Group D
    • Luxembourg
      0 - 2
      France
      bet
      TV
    Fri 25th Mar - Group I

Tables

European Championship Qualifying Group A

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Germany 10 30
2 Turkey 10 17
3 Belgium 10 15
4 Austria 10 12
5 Azerbaijan 10 7
6 Kazakhstan 10 4

European Championship Qualifying Group B

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Russia 10 23
2 Republic of Ireland 10 21
3 Armenia 10 17
4 Slovakia 10 15
5 Macedonia 10 8
6 Andorra 10 0

European Championship Qualifying Group C

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Italy 10 26
2 Estonia 10 16
3 Serbia 10 15
4 Slovenia 10 14
5 Northern Ireland 10 9
6 Faroe Islands 10 4

European Championship Qualifying Group D

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 France 10 21
2 Bosnia 10 20
3 Romania 10 14
4 Belarus 10 13
5 Albania 10 9
6 Luxembourg 10 4

European Championship Qualifying Group E

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Netherlands 10 27
2 Sweden 10 24
3 Hungary 10 19
4 Finland 10 10
5 Moldova 10 9
6 San Marino 10 0

European Championship Qualifying Group F

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Greece 10 24
2 Croatia 10 22
3 Israel 10 16
4 Latvia 10 11
5 Georgia 10 10
6 Malta 10 1

European Championship Qualifying Group G

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 England 8 18
2 Montenegro 8 12
3 Switzerland 8 11
4 Wales 8 9
5 Bulgaria 8 5

European Championship Qualifying Group H

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Denmark 8 19
2 Portugal 8 16
3 Norway 8 16
4 Iceland 8 4
5 Cyprus 8 2

European Championship Qualifying Group I

European Championship Qualifying
Pos Team P Pts
1 Spain 8 24
2 Czech Republic 8 13
3 Scotland 8 11
4 Lithuania 8 5
5 Liechtenstein 8 4

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