World Cup 2010 – Villa inspires Spanish win over Honduras
Spain’s bid to win their first World Cup is up and running courtesy of David Villa’s classy double in a 2-0 win over Group H foes Honduras in Johannesburg.
The Barcelona striker struck in each half and missed a second-half penalty as Vicente del Bosque’s side posted the win they craved after their surprise 1-0 loss to Switzerland in the opening group game.
Spain dominated large swathes of a match watched by 55,000 inside the roomy Ellis Park. The statistics tell the story of what was as much of a mismatch in quality as any spectator will witness at these finals.
The countries drew 1-1 at the 1982 finals in Spain, but there was little prospect of a repeat outcome.
Spain were probably unlucky to lose to the Swiss and retained possession of the Jabulani ball with the ease that has become their trademark in recent times.
The European champions had 23 shots on goal, enjoyed 65% of possession and won 12 corners. They pieced passes together like it was a training session, and will probably feel disappointed they converted only two goals from the numerous opportunities that fell their way.
How they only led by one goal at the interval was a minor mystery. Villa crashed a venomous shot off the bar from 30 yards on six minutes, but he persevered to score his country’s first goal of the finals 12 minutes later.
Villa left three Honduran players trailing before whacking a right-foot shot high into the corner of the net from inside the area.
Fernando Torres, starting his first match since knee surgery in April, squandered two glaring chances as Spain tried frantically to enhance their lead.
The Liverpool striker headed into the ground and over the bar on 33 minutes before walloping a drive yards over a minute later. Torres seemed a bit rusty and made way for Juan Mata on 70 minutes, but his time will surely come if he keeps finding such pockets of space.
Villa avoided a certain red card moments before half-time. He slapped Emilio Izaguirre in the face, but the referee missed it.
He hung around to convert a tension-easing second goal off the unfortunate Osman Chevez from the edge of the box on 51 minutes after being supplied by Jesus Navas, whose delivery let him down for much of the evening.
Villa had the chance of a hat-trick on 61 minutes after Izaguirre hauled down Navas, but he managed to poke the ball low past a post with the keeper heading in the opposite direction.
Spain need to beat Chile on Friday to be sure of a place in the last 16. Honduras conclude against the Swiss.
Chile lead the group on six points with Spain and Switzerland on three. Honduras have yet to register a point.
Honduras will be relieved they never received a heavier thrashing. Spain passed up several glaring chances with Villa and the eager Sergio Ramos displaying a hunger to invade opposition territory.
Cesc Fabregas almost finished seconds after replacing Xavi on 66 minutes. He rounded the besieged Honduran goalkeeper Noel Valladares, but watched as his shot was scrambled off the line by Sergio Mendoza.
Spain will face Brazil or Portugal in the last 16 if they overcome Chile, but they will have to rid themselves of the profligacy they displayed against a side who have not won a match since they defeated the USA in January.
Spain v Honduras
1st Half Goals 1-0
Shots on Target 6-0
Shots off Target 10-5
Blocked Shots 7-4
Yellow Cards 0-2
Red Cards 0-0
Passing Success 88.8%-76.9%
Tackles Success 93.8%-81.8%
Territorial Advantage 60.9%-39.1%
Desmond Kane / Eurosport