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EPL 2011: Spain keep perfect record after beating Czechs

Reigning world and European champions Spain kept their perfect record in the Euro 2012 qualifying Group I after easing past the Czech Republic 2-0 on Friday with first-half goals from Juan Mata and Xabi Alonso...

Last Updated On: Saturday, October 08, 2011

 
 

Reigning world and European champions Spain kept their perfect record in the Euro 2012 qualifying Group I after easing past the Czech Republic 2-0 on Friday with first-half goals from Juan Mata and Xabi Alonso.

Spain top the group with seven wins from seven games. The Czechs are second on 10 points, two ahead of Scotland who have two games to play.

Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque started with three strikers - Mata, David Silva and Fernando Torres.

The tactic paid off six minutes into the game as Xavi set up Mata for a left footer from inside the box that curved past helpless Czech keeper Petr Cech, Mata's Chelsea teammate.

In the 23rd minute, Silva found an unmarked Xabi Alonso who scored a comfortable second goal for Spain from near the penalty spot with a low shot.

Things could have got worse for the Czechs, who were confined to their half of the pitch for the first 35 minutes.

But Silva was denied by the Czech defence and Xavi sent his free kick from 25 metres just above the bar.

The hosts picked up some courage before halftime, but Michal Kadlec and Tomas Rosicky failed to find the target and the Czechs' lone striker Milan Baros missed a cross in front of a gaping net.

Czech sweeper Tomas Sivok failed to convert a close-range header just after halftime - a swansong for the toothless hosts who moreover lost midfielder Tomas Hubschman, sent off for a foul on Xabi Alonso.

Spain's substitutes created scoring chances in the second half, but David Villa sent the ball over the bar and Javi Martinez was denied by Cech and then slammed a long-range shot into the bar.

The Czechs' chances of qualifying have narrowed as they are likely to sink to third place on Saturday, with Scotland facing minnows Liechtenstein.

The playoff berth will be decided on October 11 when the Scots travel to Spain and the Czechs are playing in Lithuania.

 

European Champions Spain, Euro 2012, Czech Republic, Juan Mata, Xabi Alonso, Scotland, Spanish Coach Vicente Del Bosque, Mata, David Silva, Fernando Torres, Czech Keeper Petr Cech, Michal Kadlec, Tomas Rosicky, Striker Milan Baros, Midfielder Tomas Hubschman