Friday's clash at the Vijverberg Stadium in Doetinchem also served to underline the multiple talents of their midfielder Jona. Not only did he open the scoring with a delightful chip but he also saved a penalty ten minutes from time.
Neither side was under particular pressure for the game in Doetinchem. Honduras were seeking to bow out in dignity and avoid the type of heavy defeat incurred in both their previous games. Spain, already through to last eight, were looking to give some valuable playing time to many of their squad players.
With a side barely recognisable from their previous outings, La Furia began at a measured pace, confident that their quality would shine through against an opponent that already had their bags packed. This superiority was soon reflected on the scoreboard. Seizing on a ball on the edge of the area and, seeing the Honduran keeper off his line, Jona put his team in front with an exquisite lob (1:0, 5').
From that moment on, the European champions enjoyed an almost embarrassing amount of possession, spraying the ball around and patiently waiting for the gaps to appear. Honduras made Spain work for their openings though, and looked a lot more solid in the first forty-five than they had in their previous outings.
The Central American side had a few sights of goal but had to make do with long-range efforts that never really worried the Spanish keeper. Much busier was Guerra at the opposite end, where José Enrique and Silva looked very menacing. After one particularly good move down the left, Silva cut into the area and linked up with Victor before cracking his shot past Guerra (2:0, 38').
Speedy Cesc livens things up
Cesc Fábregas entered the fray in the second half and injected some welcome pace into the game. Moving the ball well in the final third of the field, Spain gave little respite to the defending Hondurans. Silva continued working the right flanks in search of goals, while Jona patrolled the area in search of crosses and loose balls. Then, an unopposed Víctor got his head to a Gavilán corner. With the keeper already having come for the ball and missed, the Mallorca striker had no trouble steering his header home (3:0, 67').
Then with 15 minutes left on the clock, there was a change of goalkeepers for both sides, a move that meant every member of the Spanish squad had participated at the group stage. Honduras' Guerra bowed out with the unenviable record of having shipped 15 goals in three games.
Roberto's excitement about making his championship debut lasted barely five minutes, at which point the Athletico Madrid keeper conceded a penalty and was duly sent off. Having already used up their allotment of substitutions, it was left to Jona to don the keeper's jersey and step in to the breach. The midfielder ensured he would grab the headlines by saving the ensuing spot-kick from Ramón Núñez. It capped a memorable evening for the Espanyol player, who also bravely dived at the feet of José Cruz on more than one occasion and confidently pulled down a number of dangerous high balls.
"He'd been a goalkeeper as a junior player and at college," said Iñaki Sáez when asked to explain his decision to put Jona between the posts. "I'm pleased with how the boys performed. It was a modest win, but it has allowed us to run the rule over the entire squad," he added.
Jona understandably left the pitch with a beaming smile and with the plaudits of his team-mates ringing in his ears. "It's something that I often thought about: playing in a tournament both as a striker and a goalkeeper, which is why I went to the bench and volunteered," he explained.
The Honduran Ramón Nuñez, who had a shot cannon off the crossbar in the first half, wept unashamedly after his penalty miss. The image summed up the bitter disappointment of the Honduran players, who left the field heads bowed and in silence once again.