Spain beats China 1-0 in last warm-up before Euros
Spain midfielders Andres Iniesta and David Silva combined to
score a late goal in a 1-0 victory over a stubborn China on Sunday
in the team’s last warm-up before defending its European
Iniesta jumped on a loose ball inside China’s half and scurried
into the area before passing to Silva for the 84th-minute winner
that gave the World Cup champions their 25th straight victory at
A disjointed first-half display by Spain filled with turnovers
gave way to a more fluid performance after the break when Iniesta
and Silva took control of the attack. Fernando Torres also created
chances but was denied several times by standout goalkeeper Zeng
”Tactically we played well,” said China coach Jose Antonio
Camacho, who previously led Spain. ”But they were superior. If we
played someone else we wouldn’t have lost.”
Spain’s 23-man squad was finally together with nine players in
total from Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao having missed back-to-back
friendly wins over Serbia and South Korea because of the Copa del
Spain’s first match at Euro 2012 is against Italy next Sunday.
The team also faces Ireland and Croatia in Group C.
Despite Spain’s superior talent, China started strongly but
failed to take advantage of several uncharacteristic turnovers from
the hosts’ midfielders. Xabi Alonso turned the ball over in the
eighth minute to set up Zheng Zhi, who wasted a notable chance.
China, ranked 66th, pressured high up the pitch and clogged the
midfield to try and frustrate Spain’s passing game. Silva managed
to find Alvaro Negredo for two chances, but the striker couldn’t
Spain’s defense was also troubled by China’s speed. Goalkeeper
Iker Casillas, who has now won a record 96 times in 131
internationals, stopped Hao Junmin’s dipping shot before sticking
his feet out to deny Zheng in the 29th.
Iniesta replaced Xavi Hernandez and immediately linked well with
Silva, Zeng tipping over his rising shot in the 54th before saving
Silva’s angled attempt. Navas provided pace from the flank to open
up space for Torres, who flicked on a corner that defender Raul
Albiol headed against the crossbar in the 62nd.
Iniesta hit the post with a chip soon after following some deft
control before Torres, who had replaced Negredo, missed twice and
had two chances saved by Zheng.
Zheng saved from Silva in the 76th and then Iniesta, who found
his stylish midfield partner inside the box to score only moments
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