AUSTRALIA 0-3 SPAIN
MONDAY 23RD JUNE – CURITIBA
Spain exited the tournament with a straight forward 3-0 victory against a tired and outgunned Australia side in this Group B match in Curitiba. Both sides made a string of changes following their last start defeats but in the end it was the experience and guile of Spain that told in this contest.
Both of these teams entered this game having lost against Chile and the Netherlands and as such were playing for pride in this one. Australia though, was the team on a high after their encouraging performances and was looking to get some reward for their endeavours in this one. Spain, on the other hand, was deflated after losing their crown and for all the talk about wanting to gain back some pride, they probably wished they could start their holidays already. Australia started the brightest in this contest and although they were missing their 2 lynchpins (Cahill and Bresciano) they quickly got into their passing rhythm. Mile Jedinak and Matt McKay were the fulcrums early for Australia but as has been the case during this World Cup campaign slack defending undid all their good work.
Spain took the lead, somewhat against the run of play, after Juanfran’s run evaded Jason Davidson down the right flank and an open David Villa applied a cute finish to put Spain ahead in the 36th minute. Spain retained this lead at the halftime interval and forced Australian manager Ange Postecoglou into a tactical change at the break with the ineffective Adam Taggart making way for the much faster Ben Halloran. The change counted for little though, as Spain started dominating possession in the second half with Australia forced into taking what little chances it got from set pieces. David Villa took his exit from the game, and possibly from the national team altogether, in the 57th minute and was replaced with Juan Mata. Villa’s next outing will be Down Under when he lines up for Melbourne City in the new A-League season in September.
Spain took control of the match in the 69th minute when Andres Iniesta set Fernando Torres up in the box and the Chelsea man placed his shot home for a 2 nil lead for Spain. Australia were on the ropes now and it was only a matter of when and not if Spain would score again, and sure enough in the 82nd minute Juan Mata poked one through Maty Ryan’s legs to make it 3-0 to the disposed World Champions. This was the final score and Spain will surely take some heart out of this performance and the saving of face before their Euro 2016 campaign begins later in the year.
For Australia this game was perps a bridge too far after their earlier positive performances against Chile and the Netherlands and they missed the presence of the suspended Cahill and the guile of the injured Bresciano. The return of 0 points and 9 goals against will not please Postecoglou but there are definite positives to take from this campaign with a young side that is building for the Asian Cup on home soil in January 2015.
AUSTRALIA: Ryan (GK), McGowan, Spiranovic, Wilkinson, Davidson, McKay, Bozanic (Bresciano 72)’, Oar (Troisi 61’); Jedinak, Taggart (Halloran 45’)
BOOKINGS: Spiranovic, Jedinak
SPAIN: Reina (GK), Juanfran, Ramos, Albiol, Alba, Iniesta, Villa (Mata 57’), X Alonso (Silva 83’), Koke, Carzola (Fabregas 68’), Torres
GOALS: Villa, Torres, Mata
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