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Six of the best for Spain as they thump Argentina

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 4,109

Pin Spain were too good for Argentina on the night. AFP
Spain were too good for Argentina on the night. AFP

Six of the best for Spain as they thump Argentina

Matt Morley by Matt Morley @rfutbol - 0 4,109

Spain's clash with Argentina on Tuesday night was billed as a clash of two of the World Cup's pre-tournament favourites, but 'La Roja' sent the 'Albiceleste' home with their tails between their legs as a wonderful hat-trick from Isco helped Spain to a 6-1 victory.

Goals from Isco (3), Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Thiago helped the hosts to a straightforward win at the Wanda Metropolitano, with Nicolas Otamendi's consolation proving to be the only bright spot for Jorge Sampaoli's side.

The South Americans were handed a crushing blow pre-match when talisman Lionel Messi was ruled out of the game due to a hamstring problem and they proved bereft of ideas without their star.

Things could have been very different for Agentina had Gonzalo Higuain converted from six yards with just five minutes on the clock, but he inexplicably fluffed his lines and from there on in there only looked like being one winner.

Digeo Costa staked his claim for more regular action as he powered past Sergio Romero on the slide after being slipped in by Marco Asensio with 12 minutes gone to open the scoring and it took a good challenge from Sergio Ramos to prevent Maximiliano Meza from getting a shot on goal shortly afterwards.

Just two minutes later, Spain doubled their lead, with Isco slotting home from 12 yards after meeting Asensio's low cross.

There appeared to be some hope for Argentina when Nicolas Otamendi rose above Ramos to reduce the arrears six minutes before the break but that hope proved to be of the false variety.

- Second-half blitz - 

The hosts took the game beyond their opponents after the restart with two pairs of quick-fire goals.

First, with 52 minutes played, Iago Aspas - on at half-time in place of Costa - raced clear over the top and rounded Willy Caballero, before feeding Isco to roll home his second of the game.

Thiago Alcantara got on the scoresheet shortly afterwards, drilling home following a flowing counter to make it four.

Ramos saw a goal disallowed for a push on the hour mark, before Otamendi was inches away from getting another goal back for his side as his header bounced back off the post in what was a rare Argentina foray forward.

Two more goals in two minutes late on rounded off a routine victory for Spain, first Aspas was set away on his bike again over the top, this time by a stunning David de Gea pass and he stabbed an effort below the onrushing Caballero and into the back of the net to make it five with 72 minutes on the clock, before Isco completed his hat-trick, slotting home after being found by Aspas.

The game was exactly the sort of humling that teams hope to avoid in the run-up to a majour tournament, whilst spain will continue their World Cup preparations feeling that anything is possible.

Matt Morley

Matt Morley

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