NEWS
Monday June 23 2014
Spain sign off with win

Goals by David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata gave Spain victory over Australia in both teams' final World Cup match.

In this Group B dead rubber, Vicente Del Bosque rung the changes as the outgoing world champions prepared to finish the disappointing defence of their title.

Last season’s Napoli pair Pepe Reina and Raul Albiol were included, as was Atletico Madrid’s Juanfran at right-back.

Arsenal attacker Santi Cazorla came into the midfield alongside Koke and Xabi Alonso, whilst Fernando Torres and David Villa were partnered together up front, supported by Andres Iniesta.

Australia meanwhile had to do without Tim Cahill through suspension, and started instead with Matthew Leckie and Adam Taggart in attack.

With both teams already out of the tournament before kick-off today, there was guaranteed to be something of a subdued atmosphere in Curitiba, but it was La Roja who drew first blood.

Villa, playing in his final international match, produced a finish of class to backheel the ball past Socceroos goalkeeper Mat Ryan on 36 minutes from Juanfran's cut back.

It was an improved performance by La Roja compared to their comprehensive previous two defeats to Holland and Chile, though it must be noted they were facing inferior opposition.

They maintained their hold on the game in the second period and, with just over 20 minutes remaining, it was 2-0.

Andres Iniesta was granted far too much space on the edge of the penalty area, allowing him to thread a fine ball through to Torres, who made no mistake by coolly slotting home.

There was still time for substitute Mata to make it three when he collected a Cesc Fabregas pass before finishing past Ryan on what was an increasingly miserable afternoon for the Socceroos.

It has been a frustrating and difficult tournament for La Roja, but the result at least means that they avoid last place in the group and sign off with a win.

Australia, despite showing plenty of endeavour, found the tournament a bridge too far.

Australia 0 – 3 Spain

Villa 36 (S), Torres 69 (S), Mata 82 (S)

Australia: Ryan, McGowan, Davidson, Spiranovic, Wilkinson, Oar (Troisi 61), Bozanic (Bresciano 72),Jedinak, McKay, Leckie, Taggart (Halloran 45)

Spain: Reina; Juanfran, Albiol, Ramos, Alba; Alonso (Silva 84), Koke, Cazorla (Fabregas 68); Iniesta, Torres, Villa (Mata 57)

Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (Bahrain)

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