Silva scores twice as Spain beat Scotland 3-1
David Silva scored twice and set up David Villa’s 50th goal for
Spain as the defending champions denied Scotland a playoff place
for next year’s European Championship with a 3-1 win on
Scotland’s loss allowed the Czech Republic to overtake it and
finish second in Group I after it beat Lithuania 4-1. Scotland
needed to match the Czechs’ result to clinch a spot in next month’s
playoff for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
”The result is disappointing,” Scotland coach Craig Levein
said. ”We don’t like to lose, but I told the players that this is
as hard as it gets. I don’t feel we hit our stride until three or
four games into qualifying.”
World Cup champion Spain has won 14 straight competitive matches
and finished Group I perfect after an eighth straight victory.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque left striker Fernando Torres but
Spain’s attack didn’t miss the Chelsea striker as the 2008
champions scored after six minutes. Villa collected the ball and
slipped a pass to the overlapping Jordi Alba who cut back for Silva
to guide a low shot under Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Spain showcased its characteristic possession football at the
Rico Perez stadium with Pedro Rodriguez and Carles Puyol getting
chances before Scotland began to threaten.
But Spain continued to pressure McGregor before Silva scored his
second goal at the close of the half after cutting in from the
right and swapping passes with Pedro before stroking the ball low
into the far corner.
”I think we’ve got a lot of alternatives,” Del Bosque said.
”I also think it’s healthy for the mentality of the group that all
the players participate and feel useful. I know it’s difficult to
put everyone on, but we are always searching for better.”
Silva made his case to start more matches for the world
champions as his influence grew and he orchestrated an intricate
passing move with Santi Cazorla and Pedro before rolling the ball
to Villa to score in the 54th as the Barcelona striker added to his
record total for Spain in his 80th game.
”They knock the ball around so quick and so crisp,” Scotland’s
Steven Naismith said. ”We tried to get forward as much as we could
but you can’t go right up against a Spain team that has world-class
David Goodwillie scored a consolation goal for Scotland with a
66th-minute penalty after Victor Valdes – making his first start
for Spain with Iker Casillas rested – felled Craig Mackail-Smith in
Spain: Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol (Alvaro
Arbeloa, 45), Jordi Alba, David Villa, Xavi Hernandez (Fernando
Llorente, 64), Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Pedro Rodriguez,
Santi Cazorla, David Silva (Thiago Alcantara, 55).
Scotland: Allan McGregor, Alan Hutton, Phil Bardsley, Christophe
Berra, Gary Caldwell, Charlie Adam (James Forrest, 63), Darren
Fletcher (Don Cowie, 85), James Morrison, Craig Mackail-Smith,
Barry Bannan (David Goodwillie, 63), Steven Naismith.