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Spain rain goals on Ukraine

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Last updated on: June 14, 2006 20:58 IST

Spain made their best start to a World Cup finals, demolishing a 10-man Ukraine 4-0 on Wednesday, on an afternoon the tournament debutants would rather forget.

Two goals from the outstanding David Villa, one a deflected free-kick and the second from the first penalty awarded in the competition, a header from Xabi Alonso and a powerful volley from Fernando Torres secured Spain's emphatic Group H victory.

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Ukraine were reduced to 10 men after 47 minutes when Vladislav Vashchyuk was harshly sent off for tugging at Torres's shorts.

Spain took their run to 23 matches without defeat since Luis Aragones became coach after Euro 2004.

Although it is too early to consider them potential champions, Spain played sparkling football in defence, midfield and attack and could easily have added more goals.

In contrast, Andriy Shevchenko, the 2004 Footballer of the Year who has been signed by Chelsea from AC Milan for almost 30 million pounds ($55.24 million), hardly had a meaningful touch.

Spain went ahead after 13 minutes, Alonso bravely getting his head to the ball from Xavi's left-wing corner.

Four minutes later, the lead was doubled when Villa's free kick took a deflection off Andriy Rusol to leave goalkeeper Oleksander Shovkovsky nowhere.  

Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin attempted to pep up his side by bringing on Andriy Vorobei and Oleg Shelayev at halftime but his plans were wrecked within 90 seconds of the restart when Vashchuck was harshly shown the red card for hauling back Torres.

Villa made no mistake from the resulting penalty although Shovkovsky got a hand on the ball.

Torres sealed victory with a blistering volley on the run with nine minutes to play.

Mike Collett
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