Spain warmed up for their 2014 FIFA World Cup Group B opener against the Netherlands on Friday with a 2-0 friendly win against El Salvador in Washington DC, David Villa's second-half double ensuring the world champions head to Brazil in fine fettle.
Having recently eased past Bolivia in their penultimate friendly before commencing their World Cup title defence in Salvador, La Roja looked just as comfortable against Albert Roca's Central American side, with Villa increasing his standing as Spain's leading marksman thanks to goals in the 60th and 87th minutes.
Featuring the fit-again Diego Costa in their forward line, Spain started brightly against El Salvador and should have forged ahead early on when the Club Atlético de Madrid striker was adjudged to have been fouled by goalkeeper Henry Hernández in the area. Cesc Fàbregas failed to take advantage, however, sending the resulting spot kick over the crossbar. Villa then had a close-range effort blocked by Hernández as the back-to-back UEFA European Championship winners increased the tempo.
A Liga winner and UEFA Champions League runner-up with Atlético, Villa recently announced he would be leaving the club to join New York City FC. The 32-year-old showed his former team what they would be missing as he first sent Sergio Ramos's headed pass into the net for goal number 57 in a Spain shirt. He increased that to 58 soon after Sergio Busquets had rattled the crossbar with a shot from distance, controlling with the chest and then applying a neat finish.
Speaking after the encounter, victorious coach Vicente del Bosque said: "We are optimistic in terms of starting [the World Cup]. The feelings within our squad are good. I wouldn't say we fear our opening opponents the Netherlands, but we certainly respect them as a team who were runners-up the last time out."
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