|International Matches - Under 21|
Spain 5 - Bosnia Herzegovina 1
Spain: Reina; Coira,
Jusué, Boris (Colsa 71'), Bermudo; Gabri, Orbaiz (Lopo 78'), Xavi, Yeste
(Aganzo 73'); Guayre, Pablo. 4-4-2.
France: played 6
games, 14 points
El Toralín stadium, Ponferrada. Four goals in seven minutes in the second half gave Spain's under 21 side a vital victory in this European championship qualifying match. Having lost to Austria and only drawn at home to France in their last two official games, they needed a convincing victory to consolidate second place and put pressure on leaders France. Iñaki Saez and José Antonio Camacho decided however not to call up second division players Varela and Joaquín from Betis and Xisco from Recreativo as all were involved in important league matches for their clubs at the weekend, and limited themselves to a 17 man squad for this match and next Tuesday's game in Israel. However with Marchena suspended for this game and Vicente dropping out of the squad through injury, Valladolid's Fernando was called up at the last minute to make up the numbers.
Spain took the lead early on through Celta's Pablo Couñago, celebrating his recent signing for Ipswich with the easiest of headers after Orbaiz found Coira down the right wing with a defence splitting pass. Boris had to leave the field for several minutes with a cut eyebrow which needed four stitches, and shortly after he returned Xavi hit the bar with a long shot. Spain's domination seemed complete, but just after half time a lapse of concentration left Simic free on the edge of the area, and he beat the outstretched Reina with a well placed shot. Saez threw on Colsa for Boris, and within a minute Spain were back in front, Yeste taking on a defender down the left wing before crossing for Pablo to force the ball into the net with his chest.
Aganzo replaced Yeste and proved he too could do the same, setting up Pablo for his hat-trick only seconds after coming on. Bosnia's defence was at sixes and sevens, and it was no surprise when Aganzo got the fourth, heading Colsa's long pass into the net after keeper Mitrovic inadvisably came off his line too late. Espanyol's Lopo came on for Orbaiz to make his debut at under 21 level, and Guayre joined the party with his team's fifth. Spain's fate is now in their own hands, although they need to beat France away in September if they realistically want to win the group. Even finishing second should be enough though, with the best seven of the nine second placed teams to qualify for the finals with the nine group winners. First of all though they have to visit Israel next Tuesday, and anything less than a win there will set them back once again. They must not fail.