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Spain 4 - 0 Ukraine

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Spain, the best World Cup team so far, blows out Ukraine with great football and four goals

The 2006 German World Cup could not have gotten off to a better start for the Spanish national team. It was a brilliant performance of good football accompanied by four goals. So far, it was the most complete match played by any of the 32 teams. If Luis Aragonés' men continue to play as they did, they will get far in the competition. David Villa scored twice, and Xabi Alonso and Fernando Torres netted one each.

Spanish boss Luis Aragonés put his faith in his game breakers, with Xavi and Xabi Alonso in charge of directing the team. Today's captain, Iker Casillas, was in goal, and Sergio Ramos on the right wing. The Presidential Balcony of Central Stadium in Leipzig welcomed two celebrity guests, the Prince and Princess of Austurias, who sat next to ‘Kaiser’ Beckenbahuer. During the warmup before kickoff, you could see just how focused and ready Luis' men were. The whole group huddled together and yelled, "Viva España!"

The Reds were very involved in the match starting from the initial whistle. In the first 12 minutes, they had already enjoyed two shots from outside the box by Xavi and Senna. The Spanish-Brazilian's nearly found the corner of the net, but it was tipped away by the Ukrainian keeper Shovkosky. Meanwhile, the rival was only able to close in on Spain's box by way of free kicks. And, it was just then when the Reds scored their first of the afternoon. Xabi Alonso knocked in Spain's first goal of the German World Cup off a corner kick and with the help of a Ukranian defense slip-up.
||||It didn't take long for the second to find the back of the net. Only three minutes later, Pernía was fouled on the edge of the box and David Villa was instructed to take the shot. The Valencia attacker's strike grazed off the head of one of the men in the wall, sailed past an outstretched Shovkosky, and put Spain up by two on the scoreboard.

From then on, Spain's chances came one after another, while the few shots taken by the Ukrainian side were saved by a very sure-handed Iker Casillas, who was decked out in a white keeper kit. The Yellows only took their first shot on goal in the 30th minute, but it was of no danger at all to Spain. Shevchenko was alone in the box and as helpless as someone stranded alone on an island. Any time he went for the ball, he was given an unwelcomed greeting by the defense. The first half ended with another good chance for Villa that very well could have been a penalty.

Raúl plays in the second half
The second half couldn't have started off any better. A long pass from Luís García dropped at the feet of Fernando Torres, who was tackled in the box by Vaschuk, resulting in the defender's sending off and a penalty in favour of Spain. Villa scored his second of the afternoon and the third for his team. But, it wasn't Villa's last scoring opportunity before leaving the pitch. He could have finished off the hat-trick after a highlight reel play by Senna and Luís García. Moments later, Albelda came in for Xabi Alonso, and the great captain Raúl for David Villa.

Seconds after taking the pitch, number '7' had a great scoring chance of his own with a shot from outside the box. The Ukrainians appeared to wake up after Voronin's long strike that nearly found the net. The next opportunity was a goal by Senna, but it was disallowed thanks to a Sergio Ramos foul. However, the shot was fantastic and caught everybody's eye.



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Spain maintained possession of the football and passed back and forth while Ukraine could only watch how Aragonés' team played. The continued to create chances, including a strong header by Raúl. Then, the Reds scored their fourth. It was a perfect example of how to counterattack. Fernando Torres struck the ball from just outside the box after a brilliant indoor football play.

Spain clearly proved they're not the same team from years passed, and that they have gone to Germany bring home the title. In what was supposed to be the hardest match of the group stage, the Reds won 4-0 and demonstrated the great football capacity of all 23 team members.







MATCH REPORT

4-SPAIN: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Pablo, Puyol, Pernía; Xavi, Xabi Alonso (min. 56, Albelda), Marcos Senna; Luís García (min. 76, Cesc), Torres, and Villa (min.56, Raúl).
0- UKRAINE: Shovkosky; Yezersky, Rusol, Vaschuk, Nesmachny; Gusev, Timoschuk, Husin, Rotan (min.63, Rebrov); Voronin and Shevchenko.
GOALS 1-0, min.12, Xabi Alonso off a corner kick; 2-0, min. 17, Villa free kick; 3-0, min. 46, Villa penalty kick; 4-0, min. 82, Torres finishing off a spectacular collective effort.
REFEREE: Máximo Bussaca (Switzerland). Yellow card to Ukraine's Rusol. Vaschuk sent off.

First World Cup Group H match, played at the Central Stadium in Leipzig in front of 40,000 spectators.



Match report by Álvaro Velasco
Photos by Realmadrid.com
Translation by Matthew Goltz


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