El Salvador vs. Spain: 6 Things We Learned

Rik SharmaFeatured ColumnistJune 7, 2014

El Salvador vs. Spain: 6 Things We Learned

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    David Villa struck twice for Spain.
    David Villa struck twice for Spain.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Spain didn't find it easy going in their 2-0 win over El Salvador on Saturday.

    While they never were in danger of losing, their star-studded squad was hoping for a bigger margin of success ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

    Here are six things we learned from the clash, which Vicente del Bosque might have picked up on too. 

Park the Bus Against Spain

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    El Salvador kept it tight at the back.
    El Salvador kept it tight at the back.David Ramos/Getty Images

    El Salvador are, with all due respect, a bad side.

    But they were not, as displayed on Saturday night, a bad "team."

    They had nothing going forward but proved difficult for Spain to break through, limiting the World Cup champions to just two goals.

    Parking the bus has been a good way to play against Spain, and El Salvador proved it again.

    Teams with better physical and technical attributes can play like this and be strong enough to hold out.

A Pleasant Choice for Del Bosque

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    Juanfran (right) put in a fine display.
    Juanfran (right) put in a fine display.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Whomever Vicente del Bosque picks at right-back, Spain will be in good hands.

    Cesar Azpilicueta put in a fine display against Bolivia, and Juanfran matched him against El Salvador.

    Admittedly, neither Bolivia nor El Salvador are particularly troublesome, but that doesn't detract from two classy performances with plenty of attacking intent.

    Chelsea's Azpilicueta is probably more likely to start for Spain at the tournament, but if not, Atletico Madrid's Juanfran is more than up to the task of filling in.

Silva Service for La Roja

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    David Silva impressed as a sub.
    David Silva impressed as a sub.David Ramos/Getty Images

    After David Silva came on as a substitute, Spain looked better.

    He instantly made a strong run into the box and forced El Salvador to defend frantically.

    However, playing him in the side is difficult. With Andres Iniesta starting, as you would expect, Silva will find it difficult to keep his own space.

    He could start the first game against the Netherlands, though, if Cesc Fabregas takes the lone striker role and begins the game on the right in place of Pedro.

    However, it's more likely Pedro will keep his place in the team, making for an all-Barcelona front three.

Fabregas Horror Show

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    Cesc Fabregas did not have a game to write home about.
    Cesc Fabregas did not have a game to write home about.David Ramos/Getty Images

    Cesc Fabregas did not have a good first half. He spooned a penalty over the bar barely after the game had begun.

    That was his third miss from the spot for Spain in normal time, to go with failures against Chile and France.

    Only David Villa, with five, has missed more penalties for La Roja.

    But it didn't stop there for the Barcelona midfielder.

    He also missed a good chance when the ball was taken from him in the nick of time and headed wide when chipped in by Iniesta. 

    Despite all this, he's still likely to start against the Netherlands.

Diego Costa Better Fit but Not Perfect

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    Diego Costa started for Spain.
    Diego Costa started for Spain.David Ramos/Getty Images

    We learned that Diego Costa is, at last, fit to play.

    We also learned that he is a better option up front than Fernando Torres.

    Well, more than a few of you knew that already.

    But we also learned that he isn't the profile of striker who can help this Spain side to thrive.
    Costa, like Torres, is better in counterattacking teams.

    When there's no space, like against El Salvador, he can find it hard.

    That said, he put himself about and should have scored the opening goal, but David Villa nicked in and stole it with a header off Costa's boot.

    A word on Villa: Despite his brace, don't expect him to start for Spain.

    He scored two well-taken goals, but he's a reserve in Del Bosque's eyes. Since Villa hasn't scored for Atletico since March, it's fair enough.

Koke Ready for a Bigger Role

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    Koke can stand in for Xavi if needed.
    Koke can stand in for Xavi if needed.David Ramos/Getty Images

    While El Salvador aren't the greatest side, Koke will be pleased by his solid performance.

    Del Bosque is not likely to select him over long-term Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi, but he will know the option is there.

    If Xavi is physically found out against Holland, then Koke can step in for the second and third group clashes.

    While Xavi has that spark, that something brilliant, Atletico's midfielder is more of a workhorse and is still developing his creative side.