Villa goal sends Spain through in battle of Iberia

Spain 1 Portugal 0

Spain's crusade to add the World Cup trophy to their Euro 2008 title continued tonight with a closely-fought last-16 win over Iberian neighbours Portugal.

Vicente Del Bosque's side dominated on the ball as usual but were frustrated for long periods by Portugal, who had decent chances of their own at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium.

Ultimately Spain's patience paid off, however, as David Villa's 63rd-minute goal secured victory exactly two years to the day since their European triumph in Austria.

They will now fancy themselves in a quarter-final clash with modest South Americans Paraguay while Portugal - who had Ricardo Costa dismissed in the final minute - face a disappointing trip home.

Fernando Torres, without a goal in South Africa, tested Portugal goalkeeper Eduardo after just a minute and strike partner Villa also forced an early save.

The lively start continued when Villa, coming in from the left again, fired in a low effort which Eduardo stopped smartly.

Another Torres shot from a short corner was not too far over the bar but for all Spain's dominance, he and Villa were largely restricted to playing out wide.

Portugal had perhaps the best chance so far in the 20th minute. Midfielder Tiago tried his luck from the edge of the box and after Iker Casillas could only push it high into the air, he had to scramble it away near his own goal-line.

Xavi and Villa tried their luck at the other end before Spain team-mate Xabi Alonso saw a couple of long-range attempts stifled.

Portugal had a clear chance in the 39th minute when Almeida was unable to properly connect with Raul Meireles' cross, to the disappointment of a better-placed Cristiano Ronaldo behind him.

Casillas raced out to halt Simao's run at goal before Tiago headed over a good chance.

Seven minutes into the second half Spain defender Gerard Pique was outpaced by Almeida down the left and when the Werder Bremen striker's attempted centre deflected off Carles Puyol's thigh, the defender was relieved to see the ball go narrowly wide.

Portugal boss Carlos Queiroz sent Danny on for Almeida while Vicente Del Bosque sacrificed Torres for target man Fernando Llorente just before the hour mark.

In the 60th minute there was nearly an immediate impact as Llorente's diving header from Sergio Ramos' cross was somehow saved by Eduardo at point-blank range, before Villa curled one just wide.

The breakthrough came seconds later. Typically intricate build-up play saw Andres Iniesta feed Xavi who backheeled beautifully to the on-rushing Villa. The striker saw his first shot saved well by Eduardo but hammered the rebound high into the net.

Eduardo then got down brilliantly to turn away Ramos' drive from the right before Queiroz sent on striker Liedson and midfielder Pedro Mendes.

Again Eduardo was called upon to parry a shot, this time from Villa, while at the other end Portugal talisman Ronaldo was dreadfully quiet.

Villa's cross enabled Llorente to head just wide before the goalscorer was taken off for a rest, replaced by Pedro.

Danny had a dangerous-looking shot blocked well by Pique but moments later Portugal were down to 10 men when referee Hector Baldassi suddenly produced a red card, for defender Costa, for apparently lashing out at Joan Capdevila.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy