Spain's David Villa battles for the ball with Australia's Oliver Bozanic
Monday Jun 23, 2014. 20:05
Spain beat Australia 3-0 in their dead rubber clash in Curitiba on Monday to sign-off in Brazil.
The outgoing champions recovered after two stinging opening Group B defeats to make a respectable 2014 FIFA World Cup bow.
However, it took until the 20th minute of the first half for the Spanish engine to heat up after some half chances by Fernando Torres and Juanfran were easily dealt with by Australia's defence.
Signs of things to come started in the 20th minute when David Villa whipped in a searching cross from Andres Iniesta well wide on the near left post.
Two minutes later, Jordi Alba point blank-range shot was parried by Matthew Ryan.
Spain continued to push and in the 33rd minute Villa beat Mile Jedinak to send the ball across the face of Australia’s goalmouth but amazingly Fernando Torres nor Koke faileed to connected with it.
Three minutes later, Villa put Spain ahead with a cheeky lifted-footed back-heel when he turned in a cross from the off from Iniesta to give the outgoing champions the 1-0 lead into the break.
Villa bowed out for what would be his last World Cup appearance in the 56th minute in a symbolic change of guard when the 32-year-old was replaced by 26-year-old Juan Mata.
Spain added goal number two in the 68th minute when Torres rolled in the ball after some good work by Iniesta in a second half that Australia enjoyed the possession but produced only half-chances to trouble Pepe Reina in goal.
Mata made it 3-0 in the 82nd minute from close range after nutmegging Ryan on the near post to see Spain finish a respectable third on three points as they head back to Madrid for the final instalment Spanish inquisition after an unsuccessful title defence.