What I saw of the first half indicated that Spain had bettered in attitude & were touching the ball around well. However, the opposition teams have learnt well how to "pin" down Spain & put up defensive "wall" set ups that halts & cause difficulties for Spain. But there was positive signs as Pedro did hit the "cross-bar" & Spain did create plenty of opportunities.
|Spain starting XI vs Ireland 2013|
The 2º half I had to resort to highlights. Spain Coach Del Bosque made some changes with Casillas, Navas, Cesc, Cazorla, Soldado & Mata all getting a run & this seemed to change things in that Spain found some more spaces & Soldado was accurate in his definition. Soldado opened the scoring in the 68th min & Mata the second in the 87th min.
Mention to Iker Casillas who made two very impressive & important saves to keep out Ireland & avoid the draw. This should lift the spirits & confidence of the Spanish Captain who has been sidelined by injury & by technical decisions the last 5 months.
In conclusion, good game from Spain which bettered considerably from Haiti & seem to be finding their "groove". However, Spain suffers when the opposition team puts all their men to defend.
Spain 2: Valdés (Casillas, 59); Arbeloa, Piqué, Ramos, Alba; Busquets, Xavi (Mata, 69), Iniesta (Cesc, 59), Silva (Navas, 46); Villa (Soldado, 59) & Pedro (Cazorla, 79).
Ireland 0: Forde (Randolph, 73); Coleman, St. Ledger, O''Dea, Kelly (Delaney, 89); McShane, McCarthy (Meyler, 85), Hendrick (Quinn, 46); Keane (Cox, 56), Sammon & Keogh (McLean, 73).
Goals: 1-0. m.68: Soldado; 2-0. m.87: Mata.