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Spain rides on Villa’s brace against El Salvador

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El Salvador defender Xavier Garcia's all-hands-no-foot tackle is not enough to stop David Villa from scoring his second goal.— Photo: AFP
El Salvador defender Xavier Garcia's all-hands-no-foot tackle is not enough to stop David Villa from scoring his second goal.— Photo: AFP

David Villa scored twice as Spain defeated El Salvador 2-0 on Saturday in its final World Cup warm-up match before it launches the defence of its title in Brazil.

The Atletico Madrid striker netted a header in the 60th minute and added the clincher in the 87th minute, producing his 57th and 58th career goals for the Spanish national side.

Villa opened the scoring after a pass to Sergio Ramos pulled Salvadoran goalkeeper Derby Carrillo to his left and away from the posts.

Ramos headed the ball back into the heart of the penalty area and Villa nodded it into the unguarded goal.

Villa, who is set to play in Australia later this year before joining a new Major League soccer team in New York next year, made sure of the win three minutes from time.

Spanish striker Diego Costa, who lasted only nine minutes for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League final against Real Madrid due to a right hamstring problem, started and played until the 74th minute with no signs of trouble.

Meanwhile, England manager Roy Hodgson breathed a sigh of relief after his team emerged unscathed from a bruising goalless draw with Honduras in Miami. A match interrupted by a lightning storm also saw plenty of sparks on the pitch with a number of full-blooded challenges that would have given Hodgson some anxious moments.

Honduras had Brayan Beckeles sent off in the 66th minute for a second bookable offence but will take heart from a battling display and a clean sheet after losing its previous two warm-up games 4-2 to Israel and 2-0 to Turkey.

In Buenos Aires, Argentina easily beat Slovenia 2-0 in its last World Cup warmup with goals from Ricardo Alvarez and Lionel Messi. 

Alvarez put a second-string Argentina ahead in the first half with a shot from the edge of the penalty area. Messi, Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria came on in the second half and combined elegantly to double the lead in the 67th minute. 

Aguero headed down a pass from di Maria to set up Messi, who calmly slotted the ball past Slovenia goalkeeper Vid Belec. 

Argentina, which is set to travel to Brazil on Monday, faces Bosnia-Herzegovina in its Group F opener on June 15. 

“We are in good shape. We are a strong group, which is what we’ve been hoping to become from the start when (coach) Alejandro (Sabella) came in,” Messi said.  

The results: At Brussels: Belgium 1 (Mertens 88) bt Tunisia 0.

At La Plata: Argentina 2 (Alvarez 11, Messi 75) bt Slovenia 0.

At Yaounde: Cameroon 1 (Edgar Salli 30) bt Moldova 0.

At Washington: Spain 2 (Villa 60, 87) bt El Salvador 0.

At Miami: England 0 drew with Honduras 0.

At Jacksonville: USA 2 (Altidore 32, 68) bt Nigeria 1 (Moses 86-pen). — AFP

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