Spain opened their Confederations Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Uruguay in Recife last night to go top of Group B.
The world and European champions, for whom the Chelsea trio of Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta started on the bench, were in complete control from the first minute and, in truth, should have won by a greater margin.
Vicente del Bosque’s side took a deserved lead in the 20th minute when a well-struck effort from Pedro, which looked destined for the bottom corner, took a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Lugano and wrong-footed Muslera in the Uruguay goal.
Twelve minutes later it was 2-0; Cesc Fabragas picked out the run of Roberto Soldado with a wonderful disguised pass, and the Valencia striker did the rest, controlling the ball with his first touch before guiding it into the back of the net with his second.
Spain continued to dominate possession after the break without creating as many opportunities, although Pedro went close shortly after the hour mark with a volley which sailed narrowly wide.
With nine minutes left to play, Mata was introduced to the action at the expense of Pedro, with the Chelsea man and Arsenal’s Santi Cazorla, who was also a substitute, operating either side of Soldado.
Uruguay scored a consolation two minutes from time, Luis Suarez curling a free-kick beyond the despairing dive of Iker Casillas, but the damage had already been done, and Spain secured a winning start to the competition.
In the day’s earlier game, Mario Balotelli scored the decisive goal as Italy beat Mexico 2-1.
Later today, John Mikel Obi and Kenneth Omeruo’s Nigeria play their opening match against Tahiti.