The sheer force of a disciplined Spanish side was altogether too much for a sub-par Turkey in their last 16 clash Wednesday. The Iberians, who again showed strength and maturity throughout the side, will now meet tonight's other winners, Argentina, in the next round.
Spain dictated the rhythm of the game from the opening exchanges, keeping a far from incisive Turkish side - with just a lone striker up front - at arms length for the entire match.
With their trademark patience, Iñaki Sáez's men gradually worked themselves into dangerous positions in the last quarter. First to test the Turkish keeper was Cesc after seven minutes, followed by Alexis, who headed over from a corner.
Turkey's first sight of goal came from a free kick on 20 minutes, but the danger passed when they strayed offside. Later Kerim Zengin made use of his lightning pace to peel away from his marker and get clear in the box, but after twisting and turning several times he was finally dispossessed.
Spain's patience finally paid dividends after Llorente nodded a high ball down across the face of goal. Real Madrid's Juanfran reached the ball before Ozcan, stooping to nod home. (1:0, 28').
Moments later the pacy winger would get this second of the night, seizing on an error in the Turkish defence and rounding the keeper to finish smartly (2:0, 36'). Alter the mistake, the Turkish coach decided to replace the culpable Ergun Teber with Sezer Sezgin to add to the defender's chagrin.
"Spain were great out there, but we made two mistakes early on which cost us the goals and caused our players to lose their concentration. After that, it was a struggle to get back into the match. We did at least lose to a great team who I think will make it to the Final," the Turkish coach Senol Ustaomer said afterwards.
Spain had plenty of chances to extend their lead before the break, the best falling to Llorente, who failed to finish after a deft bit of trickery from a corner.
The second half followed much the same pattern. Turkey were still bereft of attacking ideas, while the Furia Roja continued to dictate the tempo. Nonetheless, Ergin Keles came close to getting his side back into the game after making it to the by-line, but his angled shot struck the foot of the post and the danger passed. Cesc almost scored after a similar run at the other end, but his shot from distance was stopped by Ozcan.
Holding the ball up well, Spain continued to weave together intricate moves in midfield almost without interference from the opposition. Their third arrived shortly after when Robusté got on the end of a corner to head powerfully past Ozcan (3:0, 69').
A dejected Turkey then abandoned the few good ideas they had going for them and Spain began to cruise. Iñaki Sáez opted to rest Cesc, who had a muscle strain this week, as well as Zapater and Juanfran ahead of their difficult next assignment against Argentina. Those still out there wanted more however, and on 81 minutes Gavilán cracked his shot onto the crossbar, with Albiol forcing the Turkish keeper to stretch for the rebound.
"Just as we did in previous games, we were able to control the rhythm early on. Once we got the first goal we relaxed. It was not an easy game however, and Turkey showed themselves to be difficult opponents with quality players. We're going to enjoy this win tonight, and tomorrow we'll start thinking about Argentina," said Iñaki Sáez afterwards.