International Matches

Northern Ireland 0 - Spain 5

Spain: Cañizares (Casillas 75'); Pujol, Hierro (Sergio 75'), Nadal (Curro Torres 46'), Juanfran; Albelda (Iván Helguera 46'), Baraja; Joaquín (Valerón 46'), Raúl, De Pedro (Mendieta 46'); Morientes. 4-2-3-1.

0-1. 23. Raúl. Forced ball in with knee after defence failed to clear corner.
0-2. 46. Baraja. Controlled Raúl pass and shot low past keeper.
0-3. 53. Raúl. Shot in off post after Morientes won ball on edge of area.
0-4. 68. Puyol. Poked ball into net after Carroll dropped Helguera header.
0-5. 80. Morientes. Placed shot wide of keeper after back-heels by Raúl & Valerón.

Borja Pantzov and Goran Arsic are currently hitch-hiking to South Korea and are not available to write their usual spot this month. The latest we heard is that they have reached Turkey, but knowing Goran's map reading ability they are probably in Mexico. In their absence we publish below our index page report.

Spain put in a confident performance in their last match before the World Cup campaign begins with a five goal victory over Northern Ireland. Camacho confirmed that the 18 players he had called up will all be part of his summer squad, although Diego Tristán pulled out the day before the game after picking up an injury in training which is likely to keep him out for two or three weeks. The heavy rain made the pitch difficult at first, but Spain took the lead midway through the first half when Raúl forced the ball home with his knee from a corner.

Camacho made four changes at the break, and within a minute of the restart they were two ahead, Baraja taking Raúl's pass to shoot low past Roy Carroll, who had replaced Taylor at half time. Raúl added a third with a shot from outside of the area which caught the keeper by surprise, the Real Madrid striker's 25th goal for his country, and Puyol poked home a fourth after Carroll failed to hold on to Helguera's header following a Mendieta free kick. The best was yet to come though, Raúl and then Valerón playing successive back-heels to leave Morientes free to stroke the ball past the depressed looking keeper, and then Baraja rounding off a good game with a shot from the halfway line which hit the bar in the last minute.