Villa scores twice to get Spain’s World Cup back on track with 2-0 win over HondurasBy Paul Logothetis, AP
Monday, June 21, 2010
Villa’s goals lead Spain over Honduras 2-0
JOHANNESBURG — Now that looked like a championship team.
David Villa scored two goals as Spain got its World Cup pursuit back on track with a 2-0 victory over Honduras on Monday.
Villa beat three defenders in the 17th minute before goalkeeper Noel Valladares got a touch to the Spain striker’s rising shot but not enough to keep it out.
Villa scored his 40th international goal in the 51st when his shot from the edge of the area deflected off a defender to go over Valladares. But Villa missed a penalty kick in the 62nd at Ellis Park, sending it wide right.
Spain has three points and can still win Group H with a victory over Chile, which earlier beat Switzerland 1-0 to lead with six points. Switzerland has three points and Honduras has zero.
“We think this first group is very difficult and we have a tough game against Chile,” Villa said. “Being world champions is a long way down the road, there’s a long time to go, and many matches as well.”
Spain’s win eased the disappointment of an opening 1-0 loss to the Swiss.
“I think the other day we also (played well) but the result wasn’t so good,” Villa said. “We had a lot of possession a lot of chances we just didn’t score.”
This time, Villa single-handedly took the pressure off Spain, the European champion and a favorite coming to South Africa, with a superb individual effort. He dribbled between Honduras players before cutting past Osman Chavez to send a right-footed shot into the far corner of the net as he slipped to the ground.
Jesus Navas picked Villa out for the second goal, with the striker’s shot glancing off Chavez into the top of the net.
Villa’s fifth career goal tied him with four Spain players as the country’s leading scorer in World Cup play and moved him within four goals of Raul Gonzalez’s record 44. But he shot No. 41 wide on a penalty kick in the 62nd after Navas was tripped inside the area.
“Our loss to Switzerland is water under the bridge,” Villa said. “Today, we played in the same style, we attacked with short passes and we had some very good chances.”
Honduras barely remains alive in the tournament after also losing to Chile 1-0 last week.
“We lacked conviction,” Honduras coach Reinaldo Rueda said. “There’s nothing much to explain except that we had a superior team in front of us.”
Spain got back to its classy style and attacked from the start in front of 54,586 fans. It created a handful of chances inside the seventh minute, when Villa’s long-range shot beat the outstretched Valladares but went off the crossbar.
Ramos headed Joan Capdevila’s cross over the net while free at the far post in the 11th.
Spain’s defense provided goalkeeper Iker Casillas with some nervous moments soon after. Casillas rushed to catch a high ball before blocking Amado Guevara’s shot just before Villa’s first goal.
Navas’ speed kept Honduras off-kilter, while Fernando Torres uncharacteristically missed three clear chances in the first half.
Torres, making his first start since right knee surgery in April, headed over the crossbar before sending a shot high in the 33rd. He then wasted Villa’s fine pass from inside the area at the close of the half.
Tags: 2010 Fifa World Cup, Africa, Central America, Chile, Europe, Events, Fernando torres, Honduras, International Soccer, Johannesburg, Latin America And Caribbean, South Africa, South America, Southern Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Western Europe, World Cup