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Spain are Fab, but Cesc is Crocked

Euro 2008 - Spain Training & Press Conference - Day 19

Spain romped to a 6-0 victory in the friendly against Azerbaijan, but the overriding emotion at the final whistle was fear for the health of Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas who was forced off the pitch after sustaining a head injury. He required stitches in the wound and at present, his participation in the Condeferations Cup must be at risk.

Manager del Bosque selected a strong side for Spain; Casillas was in goal, while Arbeloa, Albiol, Marchena and Capdevilla provided the Madrid keeper with protection. Xabi Alonso, Fabregas, Cazorla and Riera were in midfield with Villa and Torres starting up front.

Spain started brightly enough, with the team creating good chances and David Villa hitting the post early on. Azerbaijan did not heed the warning handed to them by Villa and the striker went on to score a quickfire hat-trick before half time. Villa’s first strike came in the 34th minute, and his second came a mere 4 minutes later as Spain constantly created chances for the Valencia forward. On half time, Spain were awarded a penalty for the foul on Fabregas, and David VIlla once again stepped up to place the ball beyond the keeper and into the back of the net.

At half time, Fabregas was replaced by Segio Busquets, the young Barcelona midfielder, and Spain continued in their rich vein of form. The Azerbaijan keeper got nowhere near the fierce Albert Riera strike. David Guiza came off the bench and was rewarded for his attacking play when he fired home the 5th goal after 70 minutes. Azerbaijan never really got going and Spain pushed on in Baru. Fernando Torres was not on top form on this occasion, but it is a credit to the striker that he still managed to get his name on the scoresheet with a cheeky lob over the onrushing keeper in the dying minutes.

In the end, it was a comfortable win for Spain, and a good warm up for the Confederations Cup, but there will be worries over the state of Cesc Fabregas. While the likes of Xavi and Busquets are waiting for their chance to shine, del Bosque will hope that Fabregas can regain full fitness as soon as possible as he looks to have as many options available to him as possible.

In the clear light of day, del Bosque will be pleased that his team functioned well together and he will be delighted with the form of David Villa. It is clear that the rumours surrounding his future are not affecting the Valencia forward, as he continues to perform when required. Alongside Villa, Riera also impressed the manager which will leave the manager with food for thought as he looks to decide between Riera and David Silva for the first game of the tournament on Sunday night against New Zealand.

Spain march on, and this performance begs the question, is there anyone out there that can stop del Bosque’s men?

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