MURCIA (Spain): Striker Fernando Torres returned from injury as a substitute and scored for Spain in a 6-0 rout of Poland, their final World Cup warm-up match on Tuesday.
The forward came on for David Villa after 66 minutes, making his first appearance since having knee surgery in April, and netted the side’s fifth goal 10 minutes later.
He was the only member of Vicente del Bosque’s 23-man squad who had yet to feature after warm-up wins over Saudi Arabia and South Korea in Austria.
The European champions had failed to impress in either of those games but were back to their best on home turf with Villa, David Silva, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, and Pedro adding the other goals.
“I haven’t played for almost two months and was very keen to return, but I wasn’t as ready as I thought and had to ease off a little (last week),” Torres told the Spanish state television.
“The coach and the doctors held me back a while, but in the end they gave me a run out, and I managed to score.”
The only concern for Del Bosque was midfielder Andres Iniesta who asked to be substituted just before the break with a thigh muscle strain.
The sporting director of the Spanish Football Federation, Fernando Hierro, said in a half-time television interview: “It was as a precaution more than anything else. He has a slight strain. He’s fine, it isn’t a problem.”
With a starting XI that looked much like their strongest line-up Spain raced into the lead, Iniesta crossing for Villa to put away with the defenders’ help, as they slid in at the back post after 12 minutes.
Villa’s 38th goal for Spain, which leaves him just six short of record holder Raul, rocked the Poles and they quickly conceded a fabulous second.
Iniesta was stationary and surrounded by defenders when he spotted Barcelona team-mate Xavi’s run into the area, and lifted the ball over the defence. Xavi squared first time for Silva who slotted away unmarked.
Poland held World Cup-bound Serbia to a 0-0 draw last week and forced Iker Casillas into a one-handed save, but there was little else for the Spanish captain to do.
Alonso’s long-range shot deflected in after 51 minutes, and substitute Fabregas scored with almost his first touch in the 58th minute after running on to an Alonso through ball.
Torres was given a rousing reception when he ran on and crowned his comeback with a goal, a first-time shot from Pedro’s low cross after a trademark Spanish passing move.
Torres raced into the area in the 81st minute and when the ball broke free after the Polish goalkeeper saved, Pedro lobbed a sixth.
Spain’s opening Group H fixture is against Switzerland in Durban on June 16, before they face Honduras and then Chile. — Reuters