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friendly international

Spain 1 - Italy 0

Spain beat Italy 1-0 in the final warm-up game prior to the naming of their World Cup squad, a single goal by Pedro extending the unbeaten home record to 31 games. Del Bosque used the occasion to give a first cap to Atlético’s Diego Costa, who played the full ninety minutes in his team’s Calderón stadium together with fellow Brazilian Thiago, plus Azpilicueta, Javi Martínez and Jordi Alba. There was an early scare when Cerci hit the post in the fourth minute, but after that only an effort over the top by Osvaldo caused any problems for Casillas in the local goal. The Real Madrid keeper’s opposite number Buffon did have some work to do before the break though, saving shots from Pedro and Iniesta, with Fàbregas and Costa also going close. After the restart Buffon had to be at his best to keep out Thiago and Silva, but with just over an hour gone a good move between Silva and Iniesta ended with Pedro latching on to a loose ball to force a shot under the keeper. Italy almost equalized with a couple of minutes to go from a corner which Xabi Alonso eventually cleared, but Costa fired a shot just wide and Cazorla and Navas tested Buffon again near the end. Another win for Spain though, and a good chance for Del Bosque to have a look at some of his fringe players before deciding who he will take with him to Brazil. (05.03.14)