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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 18 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Sep 3, 2006

Spanish win was vital to banish demons - Torres

MADRID, Sept 3 (Reuters) - Spain striker Fernando Torres said his side's 4-0 win over Liechtenstein in their opening Euro 2008 qualifier on Saturday helped to erase the painful memory of their early exit from the World Cup finals.

Luis Aragones's side fell in the first knockout round to France in Germany, but the Spain coach has kept faith with his young squad for the new campaign, who now top Group F on goal difference.

'It was vital to get off to a good start after the bitter experience from the World Cup finals, which acts as a spur to us,' Torres said after the game.

'We have two years to correct the errors from that tournament. Today we needed the fans to get behind us, which they did, and luckily we were able to respond with goals.'

Torres opened the scoring in the 20th minute but Liechtenstein's well organised offside trap frustrated Spain until a minute before the break when striker David Villa added the second.

Spain picked up the pace after halftime and a fine free kick from Villa was followed soon after by a strike from Luis Garcia to give the scoreline a truer reflection of their dominance.

With fans expecting another goal-laden win against Northern Ireland on Wednesday, midfielder Xabi Alonso sought to dampen down expectations.

'We laboured to score the opening goal today but after that we were more relaxed. The next game will be harder. The group is evenly matched and we should not be over-confident,' he said.

Spain's other rivals in Group F are Latvia, Sweden, Denmark and Iceland.