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|D||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Luxembourg|
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|D||France||Bosnia and Herzegovina|
David Villa produced the perfect end to Spain's faultless UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying Group I campaign when he reached 50 international goals in Tuesday's 3-1 defeat of Scotland.
Though Villa's evening's work was overshadowed by Manchester City FC's David Silva, who scored the first two and then set up the FC Barcelona man for his historic moment, it was the striker's clinical edge which again set him apart. Despite already being assured of qualification, the Roja fielded a near full-strength team against a Scottish side needing to equal the Czech Republic's result in Lithuania in order to progress.
Vicente del Bosque's minimal experimentation meant Villa was on the left of a three-pronged attack in a team display which gave the Alicante crowd, enjoying their first national-team appearance for nearly 12 years, a memorable night. Villa, though, stole the plaudits on the occasion of his 80th cap.
"It is incredible David has scored 50 international goals and I think that's a national record which will be very hard to overtake," said fellow forward Fernando Llorente. "It tells you everything about the player. David is one of the all-time greats and it's clear that even after this historic goal he will continue scoring more for Spain for a long, long time."
Defeat, compounded by a Czech victory, brought more disappointment for Scotland, who have not reached a major finals since the 1998 FIFA World Cup. Captain Darren Fletcher had only praise for the quality of their ruthless hosts, however. "Villa's goal tally marks him out as one of the best strikers in the world," the Manchester United FC midfielder told UEFA.com.
"At club level maybe Messi takes the shine off his reputation but that's expected. If you look at Villa's record for club and especially for country, I don't think anyone can touch him. When his international career is finished he will be up there with the best ever records. Look at his finish tonight, it is a world-class piece of work – first time, hard, low into the corner."
Though David Goodwillie's second-half penalty was ultimately little more than a consolation for Scotland, Fletcher feels positives can be drawn from the result, as well as the 3-2 home defeat suffered at the hands of Del Bosque's charges a year ago. "Across two games against the world champions, the scorelines could have been significantly different," he said. "We have not been embarrassed given that Spain can, and have, embarrassed other teams.
"Nobody would begrudge them the tag of best team in the world so for us to come here and compete like we have earns us a lot of credit. Our belief has grown across the tournament, we are making good strides. Everyone in the dressing room is looking forward to the next campaign, because we are sure we are on the point of qualifying for our first tournament in a long time."
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