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Villa double puts Spain on track
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 06 - 2010

A dominant Spain got its World Cup campaign firmly back on track when David Villa struck twice to lead the European champion to a 2-0 win over Group H minnow Honduras Monday.
After last week's shock 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in its opening match, coach Vicente del Bosque fielded a more ambitious 4-4-2 formation at Ellis Park, with Fernando Torres joining strike partner Villa in a two-pronged attack.
Spain took early control against an error-prone Honduran side on a chilly night in Johannesburg and Villa, who also missed a second-half penalty, came close to an opening goal in the eighth minute when his long-range effort shook the crossbar.
His first of night came in the 17th minute with one of the best goals of the tournament.
Picking up the ball on the left, he cut between two opponents, turned inside another and lifted a shot into the top corner past Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
Chances were coming thick and fast and Fernando Torres, back in the starting lineup following his recovery from knee surgery squandered two openings in two minutes just after the half hour.
Villa appeared lucky to stay on the pitch shortly after when television replays showed he appeared to slap Honduran defender Emilio Izaguirre in the face but the referee took no action.
He doubled Spain's lead six minutes into the second half when Jesus Navas cut the ball back to him on the edge of the area and his deflected shot looped over Valladares into the net.
After Navas was felled in the penalty area just after the hour, Villa had a chance for a hat trick but sent his low spot kick wide.
Spain must win its last group game against Chile in Pretoria Friday to be guaranteed a place in the second stage where it would be likely to face either Brazil or Portugal.
“We attacked, we made short passes, we beat them 2-0 ... We still think this group is going to be very difficult. We still have a match against Chile so being world champions is a long way down the road,” Villa said after the game.
Honduras still has a slim chance of qualifying but will need to defeat Switzerland in Bloemfontein Friday and hope Chile beat Spain.
“We faced a team who were far superior to our side,” Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda.
“They surprised us with that goal, that individual move by David Villa very early on and I think we lacked conviction in our play to try to offset and overcome this rival.”
“If we beat Chile we're practically group winners, so we're happy,” Villa said.


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