Spain 4 South Korea 1: Lessons from a Torres-inspired win

What did we learn from Spain's 4-1 victory over South Korea on Wednesday in their penultimate friendly ahead of Euro 2012?

iker casillas
Spain captain Iker Casillas lifts the World Cup in 2010 Photo: Getty Images/FIFA

iker casillas

Torres hits back at his critics with first-half strike

Fernando Torres scored his first goal for Spain in almost a year as he met Benat Etxebarria’s pinpoint cross with a neat header to score the opener in a 4-1 win for La Roja over South Korea on Wednesday night. Having been selected ahead of Roberto Soldado despite enduring a poor season at Chelsea, his goal could be the catalyst for a successful tournament. Torres looked full of confidence playing through the centre, and he linked up nicely with David Silva and Chelsea team-mate Juan Mata. If he begins ahead of Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo in Poland, then he could be outside shout to take home the Golden Boot.

Barça boys miss out again

Barcelona’s stars again weren’t included in the friendly due to the woeful organisation of the Copa del Rey, and the fatigue caused as a result of the final. It leaves just one remaining friendly prior to Spain’s opener against Italy, none of the players, who are so integral to the squad, have played any game time for the national team. China await on Sunday in a game which is not expected to test the likes of Xavi, Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta or Cesc Fàbregas as Spain’s most important players head into the tournament slightly underprepared.

Del Bosque must be wary of counter-attack

Spain’s one weakness is there susceptibility to deadly counter-attacks as Chelsea and Torres in particular showed Barcelona earlier this year. So Vicente Del Bosque will have to ensure that Spain don’t overcommit men forward when trying to break down resilient defences, as South Korea posed a threat once or twice through sharp breaks. More potent teams will await Spain as they progress in Euro 2012, so they could well be punished should players be dragged forwards to attack.

Defensive capabilities not fully tested ahead of Italy opener

Spain’s preparations have featured games against Serbia and South Korea, and they will play China on Sunday ahead of travelling to Poland. None of these teams truly threatened Spain defensively – South Korea’s goal was a strike from 25 yards that was unstoppable – and with Italy in wait and a central defensive duo yet to play together, you get the impression that Spain may be in for a reality check – see Switzerland at the World Cup in 2010. Goals have flowed and the results have boosted confidence and camaraderie within the ranks, but with such a key opening fixture, Spain could face a real struggle to claim an opening win against a very strong Italy side.

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