Spain dash Scotland's dream
Silva bags a brace as Levein's men miss out on play-off place
Last Updated: October 12, 2011 7:54am
David Silva found the target twice in the first half to put Spain in complete control
Scotland will play no part at Euro 2012 after seeing their hopes of reaching the play-offs dashed by a 3-1 defeat in Spain.
David Silva proved to be tormentor in chief for the reigning European and world champions as he scored two and made another for David Villa.
David Goodwillie did pull one back for Scotland from the penalty spot, but his effort was little more than a consolation.
Heading into the game, Craig Levein's side knew they had to match or better the Czech Republic's result in Lithuania and they saw their night take a turn for the worse early on.
With bad news filtering through from elsewhere, they fell behind on six minutes when Silva converted a cross from Spanish debutant Jordi Alba.
The Manchester City playmaker added a second a minute before the interval as he found enough room inside a crowded penalty area to curl past Allan McGregor.
Spain made it three nine minutes into the second half when Silva picked out Villa in space and he drilled low into the bottom corner.
The lively Craig Mackail-Smith won a spot kick for the visitors on 66 minutes, which Goodwillie fired into the top corner, but Scotland were unable to stage a miraculous fight back - despite their best efforts.
Mackail-Smith passed a fitness test on a back problem and was chosen to lead the line again as Levein kept faith with the same starting XI that saw off Liechtenstein on Saturday.
Skipper Darren Fletcher overcame an ankle knock while fellow midfielder Barry Bannan played with a strapping on his Achilles injury.
The world and European champions were looking for a perfect qualification campaign and included star names such as Silva, Xavi and Villa - although Fernando Torres was dropped to the bench.
A huge travelling support gave the Scots encouragement but, as expected, Spain kept the ball almost from the first whistle as the visitors chased shadows.
It took only six minutes for Spain to take the lead from an attack down the left, Villa setting up defender Alba - who cut the ball back for Silva to sweep the ball low past goalkeeper McGregor.
Scotland stuttered then responded and moments later Bannan's cross from the right to the far post just evaded the stretching Steven Naismith.
In the 12th minute, as Spain reasserted themselves, midfielder Santi Cazorla drove at the Scots defence before sending in a low drive which McGregor grabbed at the second attempt, moments before the Rangers man made another save, this time from Pedro's shot.
Scotland had their best chance of the half when Naismith's back-header found Fletcher, but the Manchester United midfielder volleyed over from 12 yards.
McGregor had to dive low to his right to tip a powerful drive from Villa away for a corner, which the Scots survived.
Four minutes from the break the Rangers keeper made a great save from Cazorla, but with a minute remaining Silva worked a one-two with Pedro before driving low past McGregor for Spain's second goal.
Mackail-Smith had a snapshot at the start of the second half which went straight to Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdes, but it was simply a precursor to more misery for the Scots.
Moments later Naismith gave the ball away deep in defence, allowing Pedro to set up Silva for a shot which went high and wide.
In the 54th minute the Scottish defence was cut open again and this time Silva set up Villa who, from 14 yards, calmly slotted the ball past McGregor for number three.
Just past the hour mark Bannan had an effort from the edge of the box easily saved by Valdes, before McGregor made yet another save from Villa.
In the 66th minute, Scotland were awarded a penalty when Valdes fouled Mackail-Smith and substitute Goodwillie scored his first international goal from the spot.
Six minutes later Goodwillie had a great chance to set up an exciting finish when Alan Hutton knocked on a McGregor goal-kick, but the Blackburn striker's shot went over the bar.
However, Spain finished as they started and they almost got a fourth goal in the 83rd minute when Cazorla's chipped shot over McGregor landed on the roof of the net.
European Championship Qualifying
Tue 11th Oct - Group A
Kazakhstan0 - 0Austria
Turkey1 - 0Azerbaijan
Germany3 - 1Belgium
Tue 11th Oct - Group F
Georgia1 - 2Greece
Malta0 - 2Israel
Croatia2 - 0Latvia
Tue 11th Oct - Group B
Rep Ireland2 - 1Armenia
Russia6 - 0Andorra
Macedonia1 - 1Slovakia
Tue 11th Oct - Group E
Hungary0 - 0Finland
Moldova4 - 0San Marino
Sweden3 - 2Netherlands
Tue 11th Oct - Group D
Albania1 - 1Romania
France1 - 1Bosnia
Tue 11th Oct - Group G
Bulgaria0 - 1Wales
Switzerland2 - 0Montenegro
Tue 11th Oct - Group H
Denmark2 - 1Portugal
Norway3 - 1Cyprus
Tue 11th Oct - Group C
Italy3 - 0N Ireland
Slovenia1 - 0Serbia
Tue 11th Oct - Group I
Lithuania1 - 4Czech Rep
Spain3 - 1Scotland
European Championship Qualifying Group A
European Championship Qualifying Group B
|2||Republic of Ireland||10||21|
European Championship Qualifying Group C
European Championship Qualifying Group D
European Championship Qualifying Group E
European Championship Qualifying Group F
European Championship Qualifying Group G
European Championship Qualifying Group H
European Championship Qualifying Group I