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

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory