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Updated: 2005-03-28 08:26
Spain swamp China in friendly 



Spain's Fernando Torres (Back) vies for the ball with China's Li Wei Feng in a friendly game between Spain and China at the stadium Helmantico, in Salamanca. Spain won the match 3-0.  [Agencies]

Spain swatted China 3-0 in an international friendly in a rain-soaked warm-up for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Serbia and Montenegro.

The Spaniards were without star striker Raul, scorer of a record 41 goals in more than 80 appearances for his country, the Real Madrid forward sitting out the match with a left leg injury to bolster his chances of being fit for midweek.

But the hosts were unfazed by his absence, Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres giving them the lead after just three minutes from the penalty spot.

Barcelona star Xavi sent the dangerous Joaquin of Real Betis away into the danger area and as Albert Luque looked to latch onto the through ball he was bundled over inside the box.

Chinese keeper Lu Yun Fei was powerless to stop the kick as Spain made the perfect start.

If China thought their luck was out with the penalty the second goal confirmed as much as Xavi made it 2-0 on the half hour with a freekick which took a huge deflection off the defensive wall.

Just beforehand, the hosts had had a goal chalked off with Torres caught offside as Pablo Ibanez headed home from a Xavi corner.

Spain coach Luis Aragones called up five new faces, including Liverpool's Luis Garcia, to the squad, with Sergio Ramos of Seville, Valencia's David Navarro and Mista and Antonio Lopez of Atletico Madrid the men looking for a chance to impress.

But it was the seasoned Joaquin who bagged the limelight as he chipped home a neat third to kill the contest in the 53rd minute, latching on to Ivan de la Pena's astute pass.

Defender Ramos, just 18, was effective but under-employed as the Chinese failed to take the game to their counterparts, while Garcia replaced Joaquin following the latter's goal.

At the other end Real Madrid keeper Iker Casillas broke off from being a virtual spectator to save smartly as June bore down on him after Mista failed to add to the overwhelmed vistors' embarrassment in the closing stages by firing high and wide at the other end.

Chinese coach Zhu Guanghu, as expected, did not include his three English Premiership-based stars Li Tie of Everton, Sun Jihai of Manchester City or Hao Haidong of Sheffield United.

Chinese football is currently at a crossroads with the team having failed to qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

Yan Shiduo was sacked as head of the China Football Association (CFA) afterwards to give way to Xie Yalong, a leading sports official formerly in charge of China's track and field association and number two at Bejing Sports University.

In addition, the country's Super League has been plagued by corruption and gambling and faces a new season without a major sponsor.

Now the country is trying to rebuild the national side, which played in the 2004 World Cup finals but exited in the opening phase, in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.



deflection :a twist or aberration; especially a perverse or abnormal way of judging or acting(偏差)

sack :to discharge from employment(解雇)

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