Spain in sensational send-off for South Africa

More often than not, things don’t always go to plan in Spain despite the best of intentions.

Take the country’s half-hearted attempt at a smoking ban in bars and restaurants, for example, that saw just 4,000 from a possible 350,000 venues bothering to follow the law.

An act designed to improve the health of workers and patrons sees bars actively advertising the fact that the clientele can smoke until their blackened lungs ooze out of their ears in their premises with the result that the number of Spaniards taking up the habit has increased since the legislation was introduced back in 2006.

LLL feared the worst when Spain decided to play their final World Cup warm-up game in Murcia, probably the hottest part of the country in June and at a stadium whose pitch ruined the career of Maxi Rodríguez by knacking his ankle.

However, some would suggest that moving to Anfield was far worse for the future of the Argentine midfielder. But certainly not the blog who fears the wrath of humourless Liverpool fans far too much.

More often than not, the venues for Spain’s games are selected through favours owed or money paid between the local and national football federations rather than actual suitability.

But as it happened, a break in the melty weather and a playing surface that was more than adequate made for the perfect send-off for the Spanish players before they travel to South Africa. That and thrashing the pants off Poland.

NEWS: Torres on target as Spain thrash Poland

The 6-0 scoreline was flattering to opponents who could do nothing to fight against la Furia Roja. Vicente del Bosque began the game by unleashing a front four diamond of Villa, Silva, Iniesta and Xavi supported by Busquets and a very advanced Xabi Alonso.

Over the course of the match, that foursome was replaced by the multi-haircut sporting Torres, Cesc, Pedro and Navas who were all in no mood to take pity on the Poles with the former three grabbing second half goals.

LLL has always felt that pre-World Cup games don’t mean a ferret’s foo-foo in the general scheme of things, but the cathartic thrashing of Poland certainly can’t have done Spain any harm at all.

It has certainly given the press permission for a bit of tub-thumping, something that they have been careful to avoid so far.

“For once we are going to the World Cup with real possibilities,” writes AS editor Alfredo Relaño. “Everyone is afraid of us, everyone admires us. This scoreline will increase this feeling.”

Marca are just as chirpy with Wednesday’s headline tooting Spain as “the best in the world” but with the warning “now they have to show it” in brackets below.

And that is the feeling in the paper’s editorial which warns that Spain must not fall into “a false triumphalism. In the same way we issued a call for calm and for confidence in the national side when the football was not so good a week ago, we shouldn’t make too many exaggerated conclusions from last night’s game.”

Over in the Catalan capital and Mundo Deportivo’s front page praises the contribution of the Barça contingent, of which Villa is now a member - something the blog is continuously forgetting.

However, the editorial has special praise for half-man, half-glow worm, Iniesta who had a bright first-half cameo appearance before being taken off as a precaution against another possible muscle injury.

NEWS: Spain suffer Iniesta scare

“The blaugrana goes into the World Cup with an impressive hunger for football,” writes Santi Nolla who praises the midfielder’s generosity. “To play at his side is a delight for any footballer.”

Aside from Arbeloa filling in for Sergio Ramos, Del Bosque probably played Spain’s starting line-up that will face Switzerland next Tuesday - a line up that “uses triangles as a way of hypnosis,” say AS as their favourite form of attack.

But Del Bosque proved once again that his is a team that isn’t necessarily weaker when changes are made, something that is not necessarily true of many other leading sides in the competition.

Three goals were scored against Poland in with Team A, on Wednesday night. Three goals were scored by team B.

The squad now have Wednesday off before travelling to South Africa the next day. They have all earned the right the board the plane feeling that they could be returning with the World Cup in a month’s time.

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