Spain cruise to Euro finals by thrashing Liechtenstein
Spain booked their place at the Euro 2012 finals by caning feeble Liechtenstein 6-0 on Tuesday, with Alvaro Negredo and David Villa scoring two goals apiece, dpa reported.
The relaxed win keeps intact the world champions' hundred per cent record in Group I and leaves them with 18 points from six matches, eight ahead of second-placed Czech Republic.
This means that Spain have qualified for their fifth successive Euro finals, with two games to spare, and that they will have the chance to defend their 2008 crown in Poland and Ukraine.
The game was also important because little midfield maestro Xavi established a new caps record for an outfield player with 103 appearances, overtaking striker Raul. Xavi celebrated the achievement with a classy goal.
The overall Spain record is held by 1990s goalkeeper Andoni Zubizarreta, with 126 caps. Iker Casillas, Spain's current goalkeeper and captain, now has 124 caps and is poised to overtake Zubizarreta.
Spain manager Vicente del Bosque said: "We are happy with this result. We have been taking qualification somewhat for granted, but it's good to have mathematically done it."
When asked about the offer of the Spanish federation to extend his contract until 2014, Del Bosque replied: "There will be no problem with that, it is a matter already resolved."
Villa, for his part, said: "We found things a little bit difficult in the first half hour, but then we started to enjoy ourselves. Now we have time to think about it (Euro 20129 and to prepare for it."
In front of a capacity crowd in little Logrono, the packed Liechtenstein defence manage to hold out for 33 minutes - until Negredo broke the deadlock after being set up by Xavi.
Four minutes later Negredo calmly made it 2-0 after a clever back-heel from Villa. Xavi added the third goal with an elegant free-kick, just before half-time.
Right-back Sergio Ramos joined in the fiesta and made it 4-0 in the 52nd minute, with a close-range volley. Then Villa took centre-stage in the final minutes with two handsome goals, which should end the speculation about his supposedly poor form.