David Villa on Monday backed his Spanish strike partner Fernando Torres to start delivering FIFA World Cup™ goals, praising the Liverpool star's contribution to the national team.

Torres, who is coming off ankle surgery in April, has yet to score in South Africa, unlike Villa who has bagged three. But the new Barcelona player said his sidekick was on his way back to his best. "I haven't really heard any criticism regarding Fernando and I don't think he has been lacklustre," said Villa when asked to comment on Torres' efforts so far.

"He hasn't scored a goal but he has done spectacular work. He is very happy in the national squad and he has made enormous efforts to help this team. I think his performances have been very good, but forwards are always measured by the goals they score and I am convinced if he continues working as he has, he'll score. Regardless, he is always going to contribute positively to this side."

The 26-year-old Torres was substituted after 60 minutes against Chile on Friday as a precaution after the English Premier League star felt a muscle twinge at half-time. But he is expected to be fit to line-up alongside Villa for Spain's last-16 clash with Portugal on Tuesday.

Coach Vicente del Bosque joined Villa in expecting Torres to come good. "As for Torres, it was good he played for only 30 minutes in our first match and more in the next two," he said. "He has been very good and now he has got fresh legs and I hope he puts on a top show against Portgual."