Tables & Results

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Mon - Jun 23 12:00 pm


StadiumArena da Baixada


Mathew Ryan
Matthew Špiranović
Ryan McGowan
Jason Davidson
Alex Wilkinson
Matt McKay
Mile Jedinak *(captain)*
Tommy Oar
Oliver Bozanic
Mathew Leckie
Adam Taggart
Pepe Reina
Sergio Ramos
Raúl Albiol
Jordi Alba
Xabi Alonso
Andrés Iniesta
Santi Cazorla
Fernando Torres
David Villa


Of all the many regrets that will be consuming Vicente del Bosque on Spain's flight out of Brazil on Tuesday, it is doubtful whether any decision will cause more soul-searching than his treatment of David Villa.

Spain had already been eliminated by the time their record scorer finally made his tournament debut on Monday and, in what will almost certainly be his 97th and last international game, there was also a brilliant 59th goal.

Above all, in Villa's badge-kissing reaction, his tears at being inexplicably substituted and his general play against Australia, there was a reminder of the passion and restless guile that Spain have so lacked over this past fortnight. He will now join New York City in Major League Soccer and, while he stopped short of announcing his international retirement, the implications are clear enough.

"Since I was a little child it was my dream to play for Spain," said Villa. "I have decided to go to the MLS. If the coach still wants me I'm happy to be here but we have to be realistic. I want to play until 55 - I know that is not possible."

It all adds to the feeling that this World Cup has represented the end of an era for one of the greatest teams in football history. Yet while Villa and Xabi Alonso were at least permitted the opportunity to sign off with a 3-0 win, the great Xavi Hernandez cut an even sadder figure on the bench.

He has been Spain's best player during this most golden of eras but, at the end of a poor season for Barcelona, the 5-1 demolition by Holland is now likely to be his last act as an international player. Del Bosque's future is no more certain and, with Spain not due to play again until the start of the European Championship qualifiers in September, he is in no hurry to make definitive plans.

"I think the future of the national team will be positive whoever is coach," said Del Bosque. "We will decide rationally what is best for Spanish football."

Equally difficult decisions await for some of the players. Xavi and Alonso may also take the matter out of the manager's hands but, should they continue to make themselves available, will they realistically still be relevant by the time of Euro 2016?

Equally, is it now time for Spain to look beyond Fernando Torres? Until his admittedly well-taken goal, Torres delivered the sort of anonymous performance as Spain's lone central striker on Monday that Chelsea supporters would recognise.

After the defeats against Holland and then Chile, Del Bosque also took the once unthinkable decision of dropping his captain, Iker Casillas, in favour of Pepe Reina. The team responded to the changes with a performance that was certainly far more in keeping with their usual standards.

Andres Iniesta was especially influential and, in the 36th minute, he demonstrated his still peerless vision by releasing Juanfran down the right. The subsequent cross went just behind Villa but, with wonderful improvisation, he simply backheeled his finish past Australia goalkeeper Maty Ryan.

Spain then only rarely ceded possession, with Iniesta again splitting the Australian defence to create Torres' goal. Two substitutes, Cesc Fabregas and Juan Mata, combined for the third to ensure that the world champions will at least leave Brazil with a modicum of pride.

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