Soccer-Oyarzabal hat-trick leads Spain to 5-0 friendly win over Andorra


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Semi Final - Second Leg - Real Sociedad v RCD Mallorca - Reale Arena, San Sebastian, Spain - February 27, 2024 Real Sociedad's Mikel Oyarzabal reacts after his penalty is saved during the shoot-out REUTERS/Vincent West/File Photo

(Reuters) -Attacking midfielder Mikel Oyarzabal climbed off the bench to score three times in the second half and help Spain to a 5-0 friendly victory over Andorra on Wednesday in their penultimate warm-up game before Euro 2024.

Spain manager Luis de la Fuente fielded a much changed squad which, despite dominating from the start, struggled to turn 75% of possession into scoring opportunities in a dour first half against their lowly rivals who came in to the match on a 15-game winless streak.

Former Newcastle United and Leicester City forward Ayoze Perez, who was making his international debut at the age of 30, gave the hosts the lead in the 24th minute and was Spain's lone bright spot before the break.

He was a constant menace running up and down the left channel and made his case for a place in the final 26-man squad which coach De la Fuente will name on Saturday.

Real Sociedad's Oyarzabal, who was one of four substitutions at halftime, extended Spain's lead in the 53rd minute with a tidy finish from a low cross by Ayoze, who almost scored what would have been Spain’s third with a brilliant angled volley that was denied on the goalline by a defender.

"It was a dream debut," Ayoze, who scored five goals in Betis' last seven LaLiga games this season, told TVE.

"To score a goal and give an assist it's just great, I’m delighted. Every ball I controlled, every run I made, I put it all together towards my goal that is making the team.

"I tried to seize the opportunity in every practice session and in the game. Now it’s up to the coach to make the best decision for the team. It is a special opportunity. Negative thinking will only distract you from your goal."

It was Oyarzabal who ended up scoring Spain's third from a quick counter in the 66th and he got his hat-trick in the 73rd when he fired home a rebound from inside the box.

Ferran Torres wrapped a comprehensive victory eight minutes later on another counter-attack.

Coach De la Fuente will cut three players from his squad before Spain face Northern Island in Mallorca on Saturday in their final warm-up game before they start their Euros campaign on June 15 against Croatia in Group B. They will also take on Italy and Albania.

"It will be hard to decide on the three discards. Those who have come are already part of the group. I have arguments to keep all of them..." De la Fuente told a press conference.

"Ayoze and others showing this level of play does not surprise me. Given the level, I think this team can do something important in the Euros. The decision will be very well thought out."

(Reporting by Fernando KallasEditing by Toby Davis)

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