Spain edge out Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Group H
Friday, June 23, 2006
Spain beat Saudi Arabia by the slim margin of a single goal in Kaiserslautern, Friday.
Except for an unlikely scoreline, the result of the game would not change the position of the top two teams in Group H and Spain started the game resting most of its first choice team.
The Spainish dominated the game but did not take its chances to make a hefty scoreline against the team that was 29 places below them in the Fifa rankings.
On 88 minutes Saudi Arabia nearly made Luis Aragones's side pay when Mohammed Noor ran to the Spainish goaline and cut a ball back for Saad Al Harthi who, with a good view on net, hit his shot high over the bar.
Saudi Arabia had 41 per cent of ball possession and otherwise were confined to hitting the red shirts on the break. They were caught offside five times.
Jose Antonio Reyes and Joaquin were brightest attacking players for Spain and had a number of chances to score but either their finishing was off or Mabrouk Zaid saved well. The Saudi Arabian keeper had an outstanding game saving 12 shots.
The Spanish passing game lacked a bit of speed and the only goal came from a well executed set-piece after half an hour's play. Reyes, on the left touchline whipped in a vicious cross and Spanish defender Juanito rose 12 yards from goal and headed down powerfully inside the near post.
Though the result was not comfortable and could have ended in a draw had Al Harthi not spurned his glorious chance Spain won their last Group H match with what were essentially reserve players. Luis Aragones would enter the round of sixteen game against France, runners-up in Group G, with a first team of well rested-players.
|June 23, 2006|
|Spain||1–0||Saudi Arabia||Fritz Walter Stadion|
- 19 S Canizares
- 02 M Salgado
- 04 C Marchena 75'
- 12 G Antonio Lopez
- 20 G Juanito
- 06 D Albelda 30'
- 10 J Reyes 35' (Substituted: 69' F Torres)
- 13 A Iniesta
- 17 S Joaquin
- 18 F Fabregas (Substituted: 66' H Xavi)
- 07 G Raul (Substituted: 45' D Villa)
Fifa World Cup Group H table June 23, 2006
- "Spain 1-0 Saudi Arabia" — , June 23, 2006
- "Fifa match report" — , June 23, 2006
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