Charged with breaking down a packed Honduran defence, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque opted to exploit the wide areas to help his team secure a vital first victory in Group H at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. As a result, Fernando Torres was deployed as a central striker, with David Villa and Jesus Navas flanking him on either side.
And it was via a mazy Villa run and finish, starting from his left-lying position, that the first goal came, with Sevilla youngster Navas also creating plenty of danger from the opposite wing. Thus, while it had been Spain’s left flank which looked the stronger at the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, the European champions now also have a handy attacking outlet on the right.
“Navas gave a great deal of depth to our play,” said Torres after the game. Navas added: “I’ve very happy with my contribution, but what mattered was the win. We may have missed a lot of chances but you’ve got to focus on the positives - we won the game.”
Indeed, as Navas suggested, Spain’s control of possession and constant attacking threat should perhaps have resulted in more than a 2-0 success. “I don’t think that we’ve had a good game. We ought to have won by more goals and I’m not totally happy,” said La Roja coach Del Bosque.
Goalkeeper and captain Iker Casillas agreed: “Our finishing improved, we created more chances than against Switzerland, and the goals came. But we’re not happy, we’ve got a sour taste in our mouths. Not because of the football we played, but because we didn’t score many goals and we had a few wobbles at the back.”
Juan Mata, who made his FIFA World Cup debut when coming on for Torres on 70 minutes, said: “We could have got more out of the game but we came up a bit short. In any case, I think the team will get more competitive as we go on. We’re left with the feeling that we should have scored more goals, but what matters is that we won the game.”
Spain face section leaders Chile, who have six points to their three, in a decisive game in Tshwane/Pretoria on 25 June, while Honduras take on Switzerland in Mangaung/Bloemfontein.
“We’ll have time to prepare for the Chile match,” concluded Del Bosque. “Now’s the time to get some rest and draw our conclusions."