Action from the pre-World Cup friendly between El Salvador(blue jersey) and Spain on June 7, 2014, at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. (Photo: FIFA via Getty Images)
LANDOVER, Maryland – David Villa scored two goals and Spain posted a 2-0 win over El Salvador in an international friendly on Saturday in front of 53,267 fans at FedEx Field.
A valiant performance by the Central Americans, playing only their second game in 11 months, forced the defending World Cup champion to wait an hour before it found the back of the net.
The Spanish could have taken the lead much earlier in the contest, when they were awarded a penalty kick after El Salvador goalkeeper Henry Hernandez was ruled to have taken down Diego Costa in the box.
Cesc Fabregas stepped up to take the fourth minute spot kick, but blasted the ball high over the crossbar in a possible act of sportsmanship.
Though Spain had a majority of the first-half possession, it struggled to generate clear scoring chances.
Three half-time substitutions helped to swing the pendulum as David Villa, David Silva and Santi Cazorla entered the game.
Spain stuck to a clear game plan and finally broke through in the 60th minute. Xabi Alonso delivered a cross from the left side beyond the far post. Sergio Ramos beat Hernandez to the ball and headed back towards the middle of the penalty area. Before Costa could strike it into an open net, Villa raced in to head it home from seven-yards out.
With two minutes remaining in normal time, Villa completed his brace, putting on a clinic in body positioning and control. The new New York City FC signing, draped in the box by Salvadoran defender Moises Xavier Garcia, received a floated pass from Silva with his chest and managed to drag a right-footed shot past Hernandez from 10-yards out.
Currently, El Salvador has no games scheduled prior to its participation this September in the Copa Centroamericana, Central America’s championship for national teams that will also serve as a qualifying tournament for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Spain opens its World Cup schedule against Holland on June 13 in a rematch of the 2010 final.