Play by play
FT: Australia 0 – 3 Spain || And the Spain Testimonial comes to an end, as all things must. Typical of testimonial games, there were plenty of goals for the team being celebrated. Fernando Torres even scored, which, alone, is a moment worthy of celebration these days. But it wasn’t really all about sadness today, despite Del Bosque’s face. There were moments suggesting that this may not be the end for Spain. The last goal, below, is one of those moments. We should also take moment to thank Australia who, without their inspiration leader, Tim Cahill, who was suspended today, managed to represent the Kangaroo Nation well, as they have all tournament. We shouldn’t walk away from this game feeling that this is an end; rather, we should walk away knowing that this is only the beginning of something new for both of these teams. And that’s my final faux-deep thought. Take care of yourselves, audience. And enjoy your vacation, Spain and Australia. You earned it.
Spain are still plugging away. Only a desperate last ditch tackle from Australian defender Jason Davidson keeps the Spanish trio of Iniesta, Fabregas, and Mata from inflicting more pain. Not that Del Bosque’s facial expression would change anyway if further damage was inflicted. Speaking of Iniesta, Fabregas, and Mata, here they are watching an Australian stretch another Australian before the Australian being stretched, captain Mile Jedinak, gets a yellow card.
Iniesta does his string-pulling from the middle of the park, playing in Torres who just needs to slot it past Ryan. It was a tender finish. Iniesta’s passes have been almost there all game, but this one finally comes off. It seems the Torres “seniors talk” in the tunnel during halftime worked. 2-0 Spain.
This is one of those sad testimonial moments when a player comes off for the last time. David VIlla, Spain’s all-time leading goalscorer, is in tears as he exits for Juan Mata. This is the last time El Guaje will pull on the traditional, um, black and hot yellow of Spain. What a national team career this man has had. *tips hat*
Vicente Del Bosque is still going through the motions and practicing for his next career as a tenor. You can see it. I know you can.
This is kind of adorable. Australia goalkeeper Mathew Ryan goes to get a ball that ran out of play, and plays a quick restart goal kick. He’s showing some urgency. He wants to get points, and for that to happen, the ball needs to be in play. Now that’s a professional. Cheers to you, sir. Otherwise, Iniesta is pulling stings in midfield, as he does, and Spain are picking up right where they left off. For now, tiki taka is back.
I found a happy Spain fan, guys. Unsurprisingly, the fan is a child. Innocence, I tell you. We need to get back to it.
Before the half begins, Torres gives his teammates the high school “We’re Seniors, Dammit!” talk. No one is really interested. Sad.
Let’s get back to the action. Second half begins.
There really isn’t much #ConspiracyTalk to get into for this contest. That’s also sad. Sheesh. So much sadness around here. Except for the Aussie fans; they really don’t care about results, do they? When did it all become about winning and losing? Don’t we all miss the days when camaraderie and jumping up and down was all that mattered? Say what you will about Sad Spain and Almodovar movies, but I think I’ll take the Aussie joy and innocence.
If you play that Whitney Houston song from earlier and watch this Torres GIF, you might cry. Give it a shot. #SpainTestimonial
HT: Australia 0 – 1 Spain || Tiki taka is back. Yes, I know. We kill it and then try to breathe life back into it with every result. But the truth is, Spain had a golden generation that won everything in front of them, but they still have very talented players in their early, mid, and late-20s who are going to be causing teams troubles for several more years. Cazorla finished the half causing Australia all sorts of problems. He isn’t even a regular in this team. Then there’s Koke patrolling the middle well. Jordi Alba is basically fresh out of the box and looks great today. Iniesta has miles on him, but still is relatively young. I could go on. Then again, this is a testimonial … against Australia … with nothing at stake. We can’t read too much into this result, but we also shouldn’t ignore that this Spanish team still has players that Brazil would try to steal if they could. All things considered, a pretty standard dominant first half performance from Spain. That is, if we ignore the last two games they played.
Speak of the devil. Juanfran raids the right channel and gets to the endline before cutting a ball back to David Villa, who’s poached right in front of the goal. Now get this … Villa’s first touch is behind his standing leg and past Ryan. What a goal! What a goal! Is the golden generation back? Probably not, but David Villa is.
How sad is this. A testimonial match should be a time for celebration and joy. David Villa, I have to say, though, looks like he doesn’t want the golden age to end. He’s joining Major League Soccer’s NYCFC in 2015 and definitely looks like he still has a few more miles in the tank. Otherwise, sadness prevails.
Torres is desperate to revitalize his career. But this is a new low for a testimonial. Stripping? In a stadium? Then again, he clearly goes power walking, so why not, I suppose. Look at those abs.
We are witnessing a rebirth of tiki-taka. Spain are starting to take this thing over, with most of the possession with the men in black and bright yellow—you know, Spain’s traditional colors. And now the sadness is spreading. No one is safe. #Testimonial
Fernando Torres takes off down the left flank and plays an early ball to David Villa, who’s making a diagonal run in the box. A neat touch to change direction is followed by Villa getting dispossessed. Nando and Villa: that’s a proper Spain testimonial combo. Jordi Alba wants one more. One more almost memory for the children.
Is it too early to start playing the sad Whitney Houston music? Tiki-taka is conceding possession to Australia. Spain, especially in a testimonial match, should have 150% of the possession. They don’t.
Pique, who isn’t even playing, seems to be on everyone’s mind. Cult of personality, right? Or no?
It has been a proper testimonial thus far. If this matchup popped up on anyone’s radar prior to the World Cup, the predictions would range from Spain by a century to Spain by submission. But this is a pretty balanced game. Possession is pretty even, and Spain haven’t even brought on Guti yet.
Shakira: Gerard Pique’s husband and a common theme throughout the World Cup. We’ll miss her.
And then testimonial has started. *sad face*
Sad Spain anthem. Alejandro Sanz, of course.
Aussie anthem. Men At Work, obviously.
The referee for the Spain Testimonial is Nawaf Shukralla, a man who FIFA lists as having no hobbies or fondest memory. I can get behind that.
One-minute Spain preview. For the last time. This is like an Oscars In Memoriam or “One Shining Moment” from the NCAA basketball tournament. Basically, they’re going to start playing a sad Whitney Houston song and we’re all supposed to cry when the final whistle blows because, you know, it’s over—Spain is gone.
And here’s the one-minute for Australia—also for the last time.
Here are the lineups for the Spain testimonial game:
— Soccer Gods (@soccergods) June 23, 2014
Facing Spain in the testimonial match is Australia, a team everyone expected to be boring and boring. Yes, I said boring twice. But they’ve been anything but boring. They made both the Netherlands and Chile earn their victories, unlike Spain. So while this poster is true, it also doesn’t do the Socceroos justice.
It’s mourning time. I imagine we’re all wearing black because we’re witnessing the death of a champion. Spain, the defending World Cup and European champion—a team that no human had crashing out in the first round—is going on vacation. They lost 5-1 in their opening game to a relatively inexperienced Netherlands, and then 2-0 to Chile. As it stands, the Spanish point chest is empty. That may explain why their coach Vicente Del Bosque looks like this.
Where to watch
Miriti Murungi is a writer/producer for Fusion. He is possibly responsible for the nonsensical ramblings at @NutmegRadio. Also dabbles in yacht rock and used to wear a tie. *tips hat*
Corey Bennett is a writer/producer for Fusion, conjurer of hashtags, barrister in the American sense, and Right Hand of the @churchofsoccer. *straightens tie*