Equatorial Guinea vs. Spain: 6 Things Learned from La Roja Win

Samuel Marsden@@samuelmarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 16, 2013

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - SEPTEMBER 10:  Santi Cazorla of Spain and Francisco Silva of Chile compete for the ball during the Spain v Chile international friendly at Stade de Geneve on September 10, 2013 in Geneva, Switzerland.  (Photo by Harold Cunningham/Getty Images)
Harold Cunningham/Getty Images

Spain eventually laboured to a 2-1 victory over Equatorial Guinea on Saturday night.

A much changed La Roja side took the lead when Juan Mata's cross wasn't dealt with, allowing Santi Cazorla to roll the ball into an open net.

The hosts hit back though when Jimmy Bermudez was allowed to head home unmarked from a corner.

Juanfran, who had previously been involved in the build up, fired Spain back into the lead before half-time.

Fernando Llorente, David Villa and more came on in the second half, but Vicente del Bosque's side were unable to add to their lead.

Here are six talking points from the international friendly.


Could Spain's Schedule Backfire on Them?

While Europe's elite who, alongside Spain, have already qualified for next summer's World Cup took the international break to take in some tough opposition, Spain continued their world tour of pointless friendlies.

England lost to Chile on Friday night and will meet Germany, who drew with Italy, on Tuesday night, while Belgium lost to Colombia on Thursday.

Other examples are available.

La Roja, meanwhile, continue to play games which are of little benefitand controversial, via Yahoo!—to their preparations as a squad ahead of Brazil next year.

On Saturday night Equatorial Guinea became the latest side in a string of fixtures which have so far featured Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Saudi Arabia.

It will perhaps become more of a talking point if Spain flop next year.


Negredo and Llorente Fluff Their Lines

ALBACETE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 15: Alvaro Negredo (C) of Spain battles for the ball against Davit Kyrkvelia (L) and Giorgi Khidesheli of Georgia during the Group I FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier between Spain and Georgia at the Carlos Belmonte stadium on Octobe
Denis Doyle/Getty Images

The race to be a Spain forward on the plane to Brazil is a heated, much talked about one.

Diego Costa's commitment to La Roja has raised the odds recently, but in the win over Equatorial Guinea it was Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente's turn to impress.

Neither really did.

Manchester City's Negredo dropped deep and looked sloppy when on the ball in the box, while his replacement, Juventus' Llorente, missed a golden chance from a Jesus Navas knockdown in the second half.


Alberto Moreno: The Deputy?

Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno looks increasingly likely to be on the airplane to Brazil in 2014.

The 21-year-old made his international debut when Spain confirmed their World Cup qualification last month, and he was handed another start against Equatorial Guinea.

With Nacho Monreal playing backup to Kieran Gibbs at Arsenal, it looks as if Monreal could be the favourite to act as Jordi Alba's deputy next summer.


Marc Bartra's Fantastic Few Weeks Capped With a Cap 

NETANYA, ISRAEL - JUNE 09: Lewis Holtby (R) of Germany is challenged by Marc Bartra of Spain during the UEFA European U21 Champiosnship Group B match between Germany and Spain at Netanya Stadium on June 9, 2013 in Netanya, Israel.  (Photo by Alex Grimm/Ge
Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Young Barcelona defender Marc Bartra has been given more first-team opportunities recently, resulting in Vicente del Bosque calling him up to the seleccion when Cesc Fabregas withdrew from the original squad.

He started alongside Inigo Martinez in the middle of defence on Saturday night and looked every bit an assured defender with a long international future ahead of him.


Why Were Equatorial Guinea so aggressive?

If Spain felt their hosts were slightly aggressive for a friendly, they might want to look at who the Equatorial Guinea coach is: Andoni Goikoetxea.

Goikoetxea is the former Athletic Bilbao and Spain defender famous for that challenge on Diego Maradona, nicknamed the Butcher of Bilbao.

Either that, or the €5 million bonus El Mundo (h/t africascountry) reported the president of the country's son, Teodorin Obiang, had offered the squad.

Take your pick.


You Didn't Miss Much

If, deluded by the international break, you decided to give watching football a miss this weekend, you didn't miss much on Spain's part.

Most of their squad have bigger fish to fry and, perhaps understandably, went through the motions on Saturday evening.

There were just two starters from Real Madrid and BarcelonaMarc Bartra and Xabi Alonsoand even when the likes of Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta and Pedro Rodriguez eventually came on, the quality didn't improve.