A combination of power and patience ushered reigning European champions Spain through to UEFA EURO 2012 with a stylish 6-0 win against Liechtenstein.
After a frustrating first half-hour during which Hans-Peter Zaugg's organised outfit suffocated the hosts, Álvaro Negredo scored twice in quick succession and allowed Spain to cut loose. Xavi Hernández added a third before the interval and Sergio Ramos made it four seven minutes after half-time. David Villa scored two more later in the second half to complete a resounding win.
Though it was Negredo whose finish opened the scoring, it was the wonderfully inventive combination of FC Barcelona duo Andrés Iniesta and Villa that teed up the Sevilla FC striker for his second. Iniesta's Azulgrana midfield partner Xavi got in on the act just before break, registering his tenth international goal with a free-kick which assured Spain of a comfortable second half.
Despite not getting on the mark himself, Iniesta must take great credit for the manner in which his patient probing of the Liechtenstein defence established a tempo that the visitors could not keep up with. Indeed it was the man who struck Spain's 2010 FIFA World Cup final winner whose curving cross-field pass allowed Ramos to finish with authority past Peter Jehle.
Though the visitors never let their spirits drop, they had only Marco Ritzberger's first-half effort to show for their endeavour. Spain, meanwhile, could enjoy the luxury of introducing local favourite Fernando Llorente and Thiago Alcántara – for his competitive debut – from the bench.
Thiago slipped in with the same consummate ease as he has done at Barcelona, whose talismanic striker Villa had the final say in Logrono, taking his international tally to 49 with goals after 60 and 79 minutes. It completed a statement of intent, power and confidence from the holders.