Villa shines as Spain’s hat-trick hero
Spain trounced Russia 4-1, with star performer David Villa scoring three goals and raising hopes that their moment for victory might finally have arrived.11 June 2008
INNSBRUCK - David Villa was nearly perfect for Spain on Tuesday, scoring three goals and setting up the team's fourth as Spain won its opening European Championship game with Russia 4-1.
Valencia striker Villa got the nod in Luis Aragonés' starting line-up after scoring a string of goals for Spain in the lead-up to the tournament. The striker has now racked up 17 goals in the 32 games he has played with the national team.
"It was great to get three goals and it is a good start for the team," Villa told reporters.
But considering Spain's long history of disappointing finishes in international arenas the striker, who is now the tournament's top-scorer, stressed the importance of keeping perspective.
"It was important to win this one but we have to remember it is only the first of three [Group D] games," he said.
Also taking the win with a grain of salt, coach Aragonés said, "I am happy but I think we were a bit fortunate in the first half. They pressed us hard but we got that first goal on the break."
Spain will play its second game in the group stage on Saturday against Sweden, whom it lost to in the tournament's qualifying round.
[El Pais / Expatica]
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