Florida: Spain showed a fair few jitters ahead of the Confederations Cup as they narrowly beat resilient opponents Haiti in Saturday`s friendly in Florida.
Goals from Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fabregas were enough to wrap up a slim win for the reigning European and world champions, with Donald Guerrier grabbing an historic goal for the minnows in the latter stages of the game.
Spain were widely expected to cruise to victory against the Caribbeans, and took just eight minutes to assert their superiority. After patient build-up play, Cazorla was given far too much space and the Arsenal midfielder blasted a left-footed effort into the bottom corner past a sprawling Frandy Montrevil.
Just before the 20-minute mark, the Spaniards were celebrating once more as Fabregas doubled his side`s advantage. A wondrous chipped through ball from Juan Mata found Fabregas unmarked in the Haiti penalty area, allowing the Barca man to nod the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper and into the net.
Haiti soon had their opponents troubled a moment later, with Kervens Belfort firing a snapshot narrowly wide of Iker Casillas` post, but the Real Madrid shot-stopper`s walk to collect the ball proved to be the sum total of his first-half duties.
Despite changes at the break, Spain predictably continued to dictate proceedings in the second half, but it was Haiti who came closest to scoring the third of the game when Sony raced through on goal on 52 minutes only to stab the ball wide of the post.
The woodwork then came to Haiti`s rescue on 70 minutes, much to the frustration of Roberto Soldado. After great work down the left from Andres Iniesta to set the ball square, the Valencia man could only hit the post when it looked easier to score on a rare outing in the Roja jersey.
Spain looked to be cruising to victory, but after 75 minutes, a real moment of history looked to be on the cards. After bursting through the Spanish lines and rounding Pepe Reina composedly, Donald Guerrier steered the ball into an unguarded net from eight yards to spark pandemonium in the stands and trigger thoughts of a miraculous comeback.
Soldado then thought he had wrapped up the game for Spain but once more was thwarted by the woodwork, as he crashed an effort off the bar following Santi Cazorla`s through-ball.
Haiti pushed for an equaliser but a block from Cesar Azpilicueta denied Guerrier from grabbing his second. Moments later, Monuma was on hand to dispossess Soldado from three yards out, as the striker continued to rue his luck in front of goal.
Ultimately, however, Spain held on for an uncomfortable if unsurprising victory, but Del Boqsue will have plenty to ponder ahead of the Confederations Cup later this month.
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal