David Villa scored twice to lead Spain to a convincing 2-0 victory over Honduras in Group H action Monday at the FIFA World Cup in Johannesburg.
The main storyline
He's nicknamed El Guaje (The Kid), but David Villa was a man among boys, treating the Hondurans like a father disciplining his children.
Villa's two goals set Spain back on course after it suffered a shocking 1-0 loss to Switzerland in its opening match, and revitalized the World Cup hopes of the reigning European champions.
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This was the Spain everybody was waiting to see — a side that can not only dominate possession and elegantly string together an endless number of passes, but also put the ball in the back of the net.
Spain's adherence to tiki-taka — its trademark fast-paced, pass-and-move game — earned it a well-deserved three points and put it back in the race for first in Group H.
There are still lingering concerns for coach Vicente del Bosque, though. But for a lack of finishing, in particular by Fernando Torres, Spain could have led 5-0 at halftime. The Spaniards must be more ruthless in front of goal and develop a killer instinct, instead of needlessly toying with their opponents before finally getting around to putting them away.
As for Honduras, it is still searching for its first World Cup victory. The team lost its opener, against Chile, and was winless in its only previous tournament appearance, in 1982.
The winning goal
Villa broke the deadlock in the 17th minute when he made a sublime move to elude his marker down the left side, and then slipped between two Honduran defenders inside the box before curling a gorgeous shot past goalkeeper Noel Valladares.
Turning point of the game
Villa's first goal in the 17th minute was an early statement from the Spaniards. The Hondurans were scrambling after that, trying furiously to fight the wave of Spanish attacks that crashed its penalty box.
Man of the match
Villa had his shooting boots on, proving why he is one of the best strikers in the world. His missed penalty kick in the second half denied him a hat trick, but he was still brilliant.
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Goal of the match
Villa's first goal was a thing of beauty — a picturesque combination of technique, speed, power and clinical finishing.
What this result means
Chile leads Group H with six points, ahead of Spain and Switzerland (three points apiece), and winless Honduras.
Chile can clinch a second-round berth with a draw in its final game, against Spain. A victory by the Spaniards would see them advance. Switzerland would move on if they beat Honduras, and Spain losses or draws. Honduras needs a victory to keep its slender hopes alive; it would be eliminated from contention with a loss or a draw.
The Spanish perspective
"If we beat Chile, we're practically group winners, so we're happy. The good thing is that this result means we depend on ourselves." — Striker David Villa
The Honduran perspective
"We lacked conviction. There's nothing much to explain except that we had a superior team in front of us." — Coach Reinaldo Rueda
Spain takes on Chile in Pretoria on June 25 (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET), while Honduras meets Switzerland on the same day in Bloemfontein (CBC Bold, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET).