World Cup 2006

Group stage

Spain 4 - Ukraine 0

Spain: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Pablo, Puyol, Pernía; Marcos Senna, Xabi Alonso (Albelda 54'), Xavi; Luis García (Cesc 76'); Fernando Torres, David Villa (Raúl 54'). 4-3-3.
Ukraine: Shovkovsky; Yezetsky, Rusol, Vaschuk, Nesmachny; Gusin (Shelayev 46'), Timoshuk; Rotan (Rebrov 63'), Voronin, Gusev (Vorobei 46'); Shevchenko. 4-2-3-1.

1-0. 14. Xabi Alonso. Steered angled header down past keeper from Xavi corner.
2-0. 17. David Villa. Struck free kick from outside area past keeper's flailing arms.
3-0. 50. David Villa (penalty). After Torres fell under challenge from Vaschuk.
4-0. 80. Fernando Torres. Fired shot past Shovkovsky after Puyol headed across.

An amazing start for Spain in the World Cup, "la selección" thrashing the fancied Ukraine 4-0 in their group H match. Incredibly, Luis Aragonés's side were already two up with just over a quarter of an hour on the clock, Xabi Alonso heading home Xavi's corner and David Villa firing in a free kick which took a deflection off the defensive wall to wrong foot Shovkovsky for the second.

Marcos Senna had already tested the keeper with a long shot early on, and Luis García had a penalty appeal turned down soon after the second goal. With Shevchenko (who passed a late fitness test to play) closely marked by Puyol the East Europeans were not causing too many problems, although Casillas had to keep out Gusin later in the first half.

Villa brought a good save out of Shovkovsky close to half time though, and just three minutes in to the second half Spain were awarded a penalty after Fernando Torres fell under a challenge from Vaschuk, the referee rather harshly sending off the Ukrainian defender. Villa converted the spot kick for his second of the afternoon, and the game was virtually over.

With the heat taking it's toll Aragonés made two changes at the break, bringing on Albelda and team captain Raúl, who he had left on the bench at the start. Villa missed a chance to complete his hat-trick, Marcos Senna had a spectacular strike ruled out for a previous foul by Ramos and Raúl saw a header saved by the keeper. But Ukraine were not taking things lying down, Voronin volleying a dipping shot just wide of the post and Rebrov shooting over the bar.

Aragonés made his last change, Cesc replacing Luis García to become the youngest Spanish player to take part in a World Cup, and he was to have a hand in what was the best goal of the match. Puyol won the ball in midfield and after a Zidane type turn passed in to the Arsenal youngster, who played it back on to the head of the Barcelona defender for him to set up Fernando Torres to thrash the ball in to the net. Spain had got off to their best start ever, and if they can keep up this form, who's to say they won't go all the way!