Friendly international

Italy 1 - Spain 1

Spain produced an acceptable draw with Italy in their last real test before Iñaki Sáez names his squad for the upcoming Euro 2004 championship. The manager decided to start off with what will probably be his first choice line up in Portugal (with the exception of the injured Puyol), but was disappointed that his opponents had not taken the game as seriously. Trapattoni's side were missing most of their big names, with Roberto Baggio being given a place in the side for the first time in five years as a testimonial prior to his retirement. Spain started well, and were unlucky to have a goal by Iván Helguera disallowed by English referee Graham Poll for a non existent offside. Otherwise though there was little of interest, and both managers made the usual round of substitutions at the break. Sáez in particular replaced his front pairing with Valerón and Fernando Torres, and within seven minutes the two had combined for Torres to shoot low across Peruzzi for his first full international goal. The lead only lasted four minutes though before Vieri got on the end of Fiore's cross to head past Casillas and level the scores. After that Spain had their chances, but the result for once was not that important, and the competent performance was probably enough to convince Sáez that most of today's squad can already book their tickets for Portugal. (28.04.04)

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