Spain tunes up with 2-0 soccer victory over Ireland at Yankee Stadium
GalleriesSpain vs. Ireland at Yankee Stadium
Spain is not the defending World Cup champion and the top-ranked soccer team in the world for nothing.
The Spaniards warmed up for the upcoming FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil by putting on an entertaining display in a 2-0 victory over Ireland at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night.
Second-half substitutes Roberto Soldado and Juan Mata scored in front of 39,368 spectators.
The crowd, just below the 39,462 that watched Manchester City defeat Chelsea, 5-3, on May 25, was the eighth largest to watch a soccer game in the stadium.
Nicknamed La Furia Roja -- the Red Fury -- the Spaniards played their usual possession game as they wore down the opposition with dozens of passes.
"We achieved what we came to do," Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. "No one was injured. Nothing bad happened that will affect us on the 16th in Brazil . I think it has been a good preparation. Physically, we have gotten better. Overall, we are better than we came."
"We showed a good level. We had most of the ball, especially in the first half. Maybe we lacked a little on the last pass. But I think we had a good control of the ball. We did a good job of controlling their attacks and their counterattack, as well. I am not leaving this game unsatisfied. We played a good game and we probably could have won by one more goal."
A stout Ireland defense and some solid goalkeeping from David Forde held the fort until Soldado tallied in the 69th minute. Alvaro Arbeloa nudged a short pass to Soldado, who fired a 15-yard shot into the lower left corner.
The Spaniards needed some stellar goalkeeping from another second-half sub, Iker Casillas, and some help from the game officials to keep Ireland off the scoreboard. Casillas scooped out a shot in the 82nd minute. Sean Ledger got the rebound and slotted it past Casillas. As Ireland celebrated the "goal," Simon Cox was ruled offside.
Mata added an insurance goal in the 88th minute, slotting home a Santi Cazorla pass.
The Confederations Cup trophy is the one piece of hardware the Spaniards have failed to secure during a remarkable run. They became the first team to defend a European Championship (2008, 2012), sandwiched around a world title (2010).
Their only blemish was a disappointing third-place finish in the 2009 Confederations Cup in a 2-0 semifinal upset loss to the United States.
"We're confident in ourselves," Del Bosque said. "We also recognize the quality of the opposition that we'll face because they're tough teams."
But as the Spaniards reminded observers Tuesday night, so are they.