BERN, Switzerland, May 31 – Fernando Torres celebrated his return to the Spain team with a first half goal as the World and European Champions continued their preparation for Euro 2012 with a 4-1 win over South Korea.
Fresh from capturing the Champions League with Chelsea, Torres’ fortunes appear to be turning after what was generally a poor campaign where he scored just eleven goals and was dropped from the Spain squad in February.
Following an anxious wait he was included in the Spain squad by coach Vicente Del Bosque which will travel to Poland next week and it was he who got the opening goal after eleven minutes in the friendly against the South Koreans in Bern, Switzerland.
“I’m feeling good at the moment both physically and mentally. Training is going well and now I’m looking forward to the competition. Sometimes when you are not involved and things are not going well it helps you to see the bigger picture and evaluate your position,” said Torres.
“It is a reward for me to be here and I am going to take the opportunity and try and make the most of it. It has been a difficult time but hopefully that is now in the past.”
In a relaxed atmosphere, with Spain still without their Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao contingent who were involved in the King’s Cup final last week, South Korea equalised through Kim Do-Heon, two minutes before half time.
After the interval goals by Xabi Alonso, from the penalty spot, Santi Cazorla and Alvaro Negredo assured a comfortable win in the end for Spain.
It was a stern test for the Koreans, who famously knocked Spain out in the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup on penalties, but it served as a useful warm up game with important World Cup qualifying matches against Qatar and Lebanon ahead.
Del Bosque anticipated a hardworking Korea side who would look to press and close them down saying it could be something similar to what they could expect from their Group C rivals Republic of Ireland at the European Championships next month.
But it did not seem that way as Spain quickly asserted themselves.
Alonso caused danger to the Korean goal with a 25-yard strike after nine minutes which was parried behind for a corner by keeper Kim Jin-Hyeon but a couple of minutes later Spain got the breakthrough. Benat Etxebarria sent a deep cross from the left which Torres headed over the keeper and into the top corner.
Cazorla had another drive repelled by Jin-Hyeon before South Korea settled and Son Heung-Min fired a whisker wide after 20 minutes. Spain dropped their level as the first half progressed and paid for their lethargy as Do-Heon hit an excellent equaliser from distance before the break.
Following the restart Alonso restored Spain’s advantage from the penalty spot after Cho Yong-Hyung charged down a Nacho Monreal shot with his arm and a clever free-kick from Cazorla, after 55 minutes, went under the wall and deceived the keeper.
Sevilla striker Negredo wrapped up the scoring eleven minutes from the end.
Meanwhile, del Bosque said he was confident Cesc Fabregas would overcome a thigh problem to participate in next month’s Euro 2012 finals.
“We hope Fabregas will be on good form and he’s forecast to be at the finals,” said Del Bosque after a 4-1 friendly win in Bern over South Korea.
Barcelona’s Fabregas has been out of action with a thigh strain picked up in the May 25 Spanish Cup final win over Bilbao.
Del Bosque does at least have solid back up for the former Arsenal man in the shape of Benat Etxebarria of Betis who turned in a fine showing against the Koreans.