International Matches

Friendly international

Spain 0 - Russia 0

Spain: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Pablo, Puyol, Antonio López (Joaquín 72'); Marcos Senna (Xavi 46'), Albelda (Xabi Alonso 46'), Cesc (Iniesta 46'); Luis García (Raúl 46'), Fernando Torres, David Villa (Reyes 62'). 4-3-3.
Russia: Akinfeev; V. Berezutsky (Zyryanov 63'), Ignasevitch, A. Berezutsky; Aldonin (Semak 72'), Smertin, Ayunkov, Bilyaletdinov (Kirichenko 92'); Loskov; Arshavin (Systchev 46'), Kerzakhov (Titov 46'). 3-4-1-2.

Goals: None.

A promising start petered out to nothing in Spain's first warm up game for the World Cup against Russia. Luis Aragonés lined up with an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation, but it appeared to work well and for the first half hour his side could have had three or four goals. David Villa, Fernando Torres and Luis García gelled together effectively up front, with Villa and Torres bringing good saves out of Akinfeev and Torres putting another effort just wide of the post.

The Russians had been content to sit back and absorb the pressure, but they did have a penalty appeal turned down and Casillas had to be at his best to keep out a spectacular volley from Ayonkov with just over half an hour gone. Sergio Ramos should have opened the scoring though a few minutes later when he headed a corner wide of the mark after the keeper had misjudged his clearance.

This was just a first trial though, and Aragonés made four changes at the break, replacing his midfield trio and bringing on team captain Raúl. It was not however until Reyes came on that they carved out another chance, the Arsenal forward setting up Torres for him to head over the bar. Raúl should have scored a minute later when he shot wide with the goal at his mercy, and Reyes tested Akinfeev with a long shot soon afterwards.

Aragonés made a final throw of the dice, taking off left back Antonio López to bring on Joaquín, but the East Europeans had shut up shop by then and there was no way through. Torres was frustrated gain by Akinfeev and Raúl headed another Reyes cross over the top, but eventually time ran out. It had not been a bad performance, and the coach extended his unbeaten run since taking over to twenty games, but Spain will have to begin scoring in the remaining two friendlies against Egypt and Croatia to gain the confidence they need before things start to get serious.