On-song Spain ease past Panama
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Spain have moved to the top of Group B with an emphatic 8-3 win over Panama at Bangkok’s Huamark Indoor Stadium.

This impressive result, achieved by an equally eye-catching performance, enabled the European champions to move clear of Iran on goal difference, and leave them needing just a point from their final group match against Morocco to be guaranteed one of the top two places in their section.

Spain were ultimately good value for their win but they endured a nervy start as Panama hit the post twice inside the opening minute through Miguel Lasso and Fernando Mena. The two-time world champions quickly recovered their composure though and broke the deadlock after just two minutes. Kike was the man to find the net from close range, but the goal owed more to a superb cross-court outside-of-foot pass from Miguelin to set up the shot.

There was rarely any doubt about the outcome from that moment onwards, and six minutes later Spain’s grip on the points tightened when Lin broke clear of his marker to fire into the bottom right-hand corner from a quickly taken Alemao kick-in. Panama – 8-3 winners over Morocco in their first match - simply had no answer to their opponents’ well-structured attacking play and three minutes later they were punished for slackness in their own box, with Alvaro crossing for Borja to knock the ball home.

Three became four on 14 minutes when some neat ball-juggling from Torras set up Ortiz to side-foot into the bottom corner, and though Michael De Leon pulled a goal back by lobbing the stranded Cristian, his refusal to celebrate told its own story. Spain remained utterly dominant and duly restored their four-goal cushion with the final kick of the first half, which Aicardo sent flashing through the legs of Jaime Londono from 14 yards. Borja added a sixth two minutes into the second half, finding the top corner with a precise right-foot finish, and Alemao converted a penalty five minutes later.

Not even an own goal, which went in off Alvaro from a drilled corner, could dampen the delight of a Spain team who went on to score again through Miguelin before another late consolation from De Leon.