Defending world champions Spain completed preparations for the FIFA World Cup with a subdued 2-0 victory over El Salvador on Saturday in their final pre-tournament friendly at FedEx Field in Washington.
David Villa scored both goals, breaking the scoreless tie in the 60th minute and doubling Spain's advantage three minutes from time. Spain had several chances for more goals, but Cesc Fabregas missed an early penalty in the opening minutes, and Sergio Busquets hit the crossbar in the 80th minute.
The match served as Spain's final warm-up before heading to Brazil. Once they get there, La Roja will be trying not only to defend their World Cup title, but also to claim an unprecedented fourth straight major trophy following European championships in 2008 and 2012.
To do that, though, Spain will have to navigate a tricky Group B first. Vicente del Bosque's team opens with a match against the Netherlands—a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final—on June 13, before facing Chile (June 18) and Australia (June 23).
El Salvador did not qualify for the World Cup.
After a scoreless first half, the opening goal arrived on the hour mark as Villa finished off a fine team move. Xabi Alonso played a lofted cross from the left side toward the back post, where Sergio Ramos headed down into the middle.
As fellow striker Diego Costa attempted a side volley, Villa nodded the ball into the net for the game's first goal.
Villa made it 2-0 in the 87th minute, chesting down the ball in the box—with a hint of a handball—before sweeping in his finish under pressure.
Two-goal match-winner David Villa said Spain played well early and late in the match. As quoted by Inside Spanish Football, he said:
Today it was difficult because of the weather, it was hot and the condition of the grass. I think the team started off well and finished well. I think we’re prepared to start the World Cup on the right foot. This was a positive warm-up, these are the same conditions we’ll find in Brazil. It was difficult to maintain a good rhythm, you take two sprints and then you need to rest. But it was positive.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque raised concerns about his side's "continuity" and "accuracy" but expressed optimism ahead of the World Cup. As quoted by Inside Spanish Football, he said:
We lacked continuity and accuracy in the final third, but we dictated the match. We feel good and we’re optimistic about the start of the competition. We didn’t have many chances on goal but (El Salvador) were good and defended very well. But I’m not bothered by the way they played Spain because if we take the initiative, I’m sure that in the majority of the games, we’ll have room to pass.
I don’t fear Holland, but I respect the runners-up.
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