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    1

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    3

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    4

EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING

Rheinpark Stadion

Referee: Bulent Yildirim | Attendance: 6127

* Local time based on your geographic location.

0 - 4

FT

Spain

  • Fernando Torres 19'
  • David Villa 27'
  • Fernando Torres 54'
  • David Silva 62'

Liechtenstein 0-4 Spain: Torres grabs brace

World champions Spain began the defence of their European Championship title with a thumping 4-0 win over outclassed Liechtenstein in Vaduz.

• Torres: I'm feeling good

Fernando Torres struck twice while David Villa and substitute David Silva were also on the scoresheet as the world's top-ranked side, who this summer added the World Cup to the European crown they won two years ago in Austria and Switzerland, kicked off their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign in impressive

style.

Vicente del Bosque's side, who have now won 52 of 57 matches since 2006, scored two brilliant goals in the first half through Torres and Villa but could have had many more after cutting open the home defence time and again.

In the opening three minutes Andres Iniesta, scorer of Spain's World Cup-winning goal against Holland, brought a good save out of home goalkeeper Peter Jehle, who soon afterwards kept out a far-post header from the unmarked Villa.

It took the Spanish 18 minutes to make the breakthrough, with Torres getting on the scoresheet with a fantastic finish. Torres underwent two knee operations in the first four months of the year and also suffered an adductor injury in July's World Cup final, and his club side Liverpool do not expect the 26-year-old to be back to peak fitness for another month.

However, the former Atletico Madrid man showed little sign of rustiness as he latched on to Iniesta's through-ball and dinked a pinpoint chip over Jehle.

That was Torres' 25th international goal and first since June having failed to net in South Africa, and he had a chance to notch a second in the 20th minute following another incisive Iniesta pass, but this time Jehle was able to block.

Jehle was left with no chance six minutes later, though, as Villa made it 2-0 with a 25-yard blockbuster that flew into the roof of the net.

That goal took Villa to 43 goals in his 66th appearance for his country, leaving him one behind the national record of Raul, whose tally came from 102 matches.

Villa should really have equalled the former Real Madrid forward's mark in the 37th minute but he was denied by Jehle after being put clean through - one of many chances the new Barcelona man had to etch his name in the record books.

After Liechtenstein - ranked 140 places below Spain in the FIFA rankings - had finally given Iker Casillas something to do, Franz Burgmeier trying his luck from outside the box, Spain created another good chance just before the break but this time Torres saw his shot blocked by Jehle's knees.

The visitors suffered a slight scare at the start of the second half when Casillas was forced to race out of his area to nick the ball away from a Liechtenstein forward, with Philippe Erne then firing well wide from long distance with the Spanish goal gaping.

It was all Spain after that, though. Xabi Alonso and Gerard Pique both won corners out of Jehle before Torres made it 3-0 in the 54th minute, picking up Cesc Fabregas' pass before driving a low shot inside the near post.

Almost immediately Torres made way for Silva, who needed just five minutes before making it 4-0.

Sergio Busquets took advantage of some dismal Liechtenstein defending to pick out the unmarked Silva inside the area, and the Manchester City new boy, like Torres before him, beat Jehle inside his near post.

Spain continued to create chance after chance and Villa brought two fine saves out of Jehle while Pedro Rodriguez fired two late efforts just wide.

Villa also contrived to hit the crossbar in injury-time with the goal gaping after being set up by Silva as Del Bosque's men had to settle for just the four goals in the end.

Nevertheless, the win gives the world champions the perfect start to their Euro 2012 Group I qualifying campaign and also puts them in good shape for Tuesday's mouth-watering friendly against Argentina.

  • Torres: I'm feeling good

    Fernando Torres insists he is feeling better all the time after continuing his quest for full fitness with a brace of goals as Spain started their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Liechtenstein.

    The former Atletico Madrid man, who was substituted soon after netting his second, said after the game: "I feel better every day after the injury, with more rhythm and the goals give me a lot of confidence.''

    Torres' double saw him move onto 26 goals for his country, level with legendary Real Madrid striker Emilio Butragueno in fifth place in the all-time list.

    "It's always nice to be on these lists and it makes me proud to be here and to continue scoring, although the most important thing is the three points and that we've played,'' Torres added.

    Torres is still 17 goals behind strike partner David Villa, who took his own international tally to 43 with a thunderous 25-yard drive to put Spain 2-0 up against an outclassed Liechtenstein side.

    Villa is now just one behind the national record of 44 held by Raul, although the Barcelona forward had enough chances this evening to pass the new Schalke striker's mark - notably in stoppage time when he somehow managed to hit the crossbar with the goal gaping.

    The former Valencia frontman was unconcerned about not being able to break the record though, telling Spanish television channel Telecinco: "It will come. It's a shame because it was the final minutes but the goals will arrive. I hope that I stay in the national team for many years.

    "The team have done well. We've played good football and the result was good. We know that our opponents were going to try to keep it tight at the back and it was going to be difficult to open them up. Fortunately Torres scored early.''

  • Scoring Summary

    • Liechtenstein
    • Spain
     

    Match Stats

    • Liechtenstein
    • Spain
    2(1) Shots (on goal) 11(7)
    3 Fouls 3
    3 Corner kicks 12
    0 Offsides 3
    37% Time of Possession 63%
    1 Yellow Cards 0
    0 Red Cards 0
    7 Saves 1

    Teams

    • Liechtenstein
    • Spain
    Substitutes
    Substitutions
    Yellow Cards
    David Hasler (41')