Spain draw with Mexico


MEXICO CITY, August 12 – Newly-crowned World Cup champions Spain got a last-gasp goal from David Silva to claim a 1-1 draw against Mexico Wednesday in a friendly at Azteca Stadium.Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez put the hosts ahead in the 12th minute, and it wasn’t until injury time that Silva was able to deliver the equalizer for Spain, who were playing for the first time since their triumph in South Africa.

Spain, whose Monday arrival gave them little time to adjust to the Mexico City altitude, started just three players who started the July 11 World Cup final victory over the Netherlands – goalkeeper Iker Casillas, defender Carles Puyol and midfielder Sergio Busquets.

It wasn’t long before the new-look line-up were on the defensive.

Two of Mexico’s best combined to produce the opening goal, Andres Guardado slipping a ball through Spain’s back line.

"Chicharito" Hernandez ran clear and as Casillas came forward slotted the ball into the net.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque experimented with a much changed side, in which Santi Cazorla, Fernando Llorente and Bruno Soriano claimed starting spots.

They had all they could handle from the highly motivated Mexico in a match marking the bicentennial of Mexican independence from Spain.

Mexico captain Rafael Marquez had a 20-yard shot that was stopped by Casillas in the 32nd. Carlos Vela shot just wide minutes later, and Marquez missed a 20-yard free kick in first-half injury time.

Spain’s best chances in the first half came around the half-hour mark, but Llorente was unable to capitalize on a fortunate ball in the 29th and a minute later Cazorla’s blast rattled off the crossbar.

"We had more control than Mexico, but we lacked width and failed to get in deep," Del Bosque said. "Without much preparation, my players played like they had spent time training when, in truth, some trained for the first time yesterday."

Del Bosque made eight substitutions in the second half, bringing on World Cup starters Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Xavi Hernandez.

Eight players started for Mexico from their 3-1 second-round World Cup defeat to Argentina.

Stands at the 100,000-seater Azteca were filled with fans sporting Mexico’s green jerseys and Spain’s red and yellow – many bearing the star to signify the World Cup triumph.

Del Bosque said he was sensitive to demands from Barcelona and Real Madrid that their players be rested, with the Spanish and European seasons to open soon.

Casillas was equally frank, saying his team lacked the "appropriate preparation" with most having only recently returned from holiday.

With few hard challenges, both teams enjoyed long spells of possession. Rain in the second half slowed the proceedings and may have contributed to cautious play.

Although the performance was less than ideal, the match gave Del Bosque a chance to see some of his lesser used players before Spain launch their European Championship campaign next month.

Mexico, meanwhile, have friendlies with Chile and Colombia coming up.