Spain suffers worst loss since 1963

Updated: November 17, 2010, 7:28 PM ET
Associated Press

LISBON, Portugal -- Portugal handed Spain its worst loss in 47 years on Wednesday, routing the World Cup champions 4-0.

It was Spain's worst defeat since losing 6-2 to Scotland in 1963, and its second big loss in an exhibition in two months. Spain's only wins in six matches since the World Cup have been in European Championship qualifying, against the weak trio of Liechtenstein, Lithuania and Scotland.

Spain has allowed 12 goals in the past four games, including a 4-1 loss to Argentina on Sept. 7.

"We couldn't have played any worse," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque said.

[+] EnlargeFernando Torres
Jasper Juinen/Getty ImagesFernando Torres, left, and his Spain teammates couldn't generate any offense Wednesday and lost to rival Portugal 4-0.

Carlos Martins, Helder Postiga and Hugo Almeida all scored for Portugal, which got a measure of revenge for its loss to Spain in the second round of the World Cup. Martins opened the scoring in the 45th on a rebound after goalkeeper Iker Casillas had saved Cristiano Ronaldo's shot, and Sergio Ramos poked Postiga's goal-bound shot into his own net three minutes after the break.

Joao Moutinho found Postiga for the third in the 68th before Hugo Almeida capped the Iberian derby victory in the third minute of injury time.

"There are no excuses," Del Bosque said. "We played a very open game and left too many chances for them the counter."

Portugal's intensity easily bettered the World Cup champion's in the game, which the Iberian countries used to promote their joint bid for the 2018 World Cup. David Villa had several weak efforts before Portugal began to dominate. Ronaldo moved around Sergio Busquets, but watched Nani head his goal-bound lob into the net, causing the 36th-minute goal to be waived away for offside.

Two minutes later, Gerard Pique had to head Martins volley off the goal line with Casillas beaten.

Portugal seemed to be creating chance after chance against the run of play and Nani was guilty of poor finishing -- especially with two open teammates available to pass to -- in the 52nd as Casillas pulled his lob down.

Bruno Alves deflected Ramos' free kick wide and substitute Fernando Llorente headed a good pass wide just before Postiga made it 3-0 with his third goal in 37 appearances.

Cesc Fabregas volleyed a good chance wide late, but Spain looked lethargic and eventually surrendered a fourth when Almeida was played free against Casillas to slot past the Madrid goalkeeper.

"You can't take anything positive from a game like this," Fabregas said. "They played a lot better than us and that's it. We just have to apologize and move forward."

Other European action


Klaas-Jan Huntelaar gave World Cup runner-up the Netherlands a 1-0 win over Turkey, and France topped England 2-1 with a goal in each half at Wembley.

Huntelaar scored in the 52nd for the Netherlands, but it was Hedwiges Maduro who set up the goal. The Valencia midfielder took the ball from Turkey left back Ismail Koybasi and crossed to Huntelaar, who knocked it in from close range.

The goal silenced a sizable Turkish crowd, which had been throwing flares onto the pitch throughout the game.

France put its humiliation at this year's World Cup further behind it with a fourth straight win and a fluent display, easing into a 2-0 lead at Wembley before injury-hit England got a late goal back.

Karim Benzema beat goalkeeper Ben Foster at the near post in the 16th and Mathieu Valbuena volleyed in from a cross by Bacary Sagna 10 minutes after halftime.

Peter Crouch came on as a substitute for the injured Steven Gerrard and volleyed in with his first touch direct from an 86th-minute corner.

"We didn't really pass the ball and we didn't really get going until the last 15 minutes," England captain Rio Ferdinand said. "We didn't play to our strengths today. We didn't control the ball and we didn't retain possession."

Italy's experimental lineup, led by captain Giuseppe Rossi, needed an 82nd-minute own-goal by Ciprian Marica to salvage a 1-1 draw against Romania in a match marred by racist taunts directed at Azzurri forward Mario Balotelli.

A youthful Germany team failed to unlock host Sweden as defenses dominated in a 0-0 draw.

Romelu Lukaku scored a goal in each half to give Belgium a 2-0 win over Russia.

In qualifying for the 2012 European Championship, Niko Kranjcar scored twice to lead Croatia to a 3-0 win over Malta that completed an unbeaten calendar year for the team for the first time since it started playing international soccer in 1991.

In the other qualifier, striker Mikael Forssell scored a second-half hat trick to help Finland to an 8-0 Group E win over San Marino 8-0. Winless San Marino has allowed 29 goals in five qualifiers.

Euro 2012 co-host Ukraine drew 2-2 against Switzerland. Poland, the other co-host, ended an eight-game winless streak as Robert Lewandowski scored twice in a 3-1 win over Ivory Coast.

Serbia beat Bulgaria 1-0, Norway won 2-1 at Ireland and Israel beat Iceland 3-2 in other matches.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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