Spain were back to their best tonight, as they downed Slovakia with some sublime football being played. Jordi Alba and Andreas Iniesta made it 2-0 before halftime. Despite the many chances created in the second half, Vicente Del Bosque's side was never able to find a third or a fourth but still managed to completely dominate play and go level at the top of the Group C, alongside Slovakia.
The first half was completely dominated by the hosts, moving the ball from side to side without much of a threat from Slovakia. It was the visitors, however, in the fifth minute who nearly got on the board first. Sergio Ramos lost the ball to Robert Mak. The PAOK forward was in all alone versus Iker Casillas but his effort was extremely poor and missed the target completely.
Moments later, Spain scored. David Silva, who has been in fantastic form to start the new campaign, used his sensational vision to find a streaking Jordi Alba all alone inside the area. Alba merely redirected the ball with his head to open up the scoring, something they had deserved even in the opening five minutes.
Jordi Alba nearly returned the favor eight minutes later as he tried to place a ball onto Silva's feet. The ball was hit just a little too hard and David Silva could not control the pass. A weak shot from Cesc Fabregas three minutes later rolled straight into the arms of the Slovakian goal keeper.
Spain double their lead
Right before the half an hour mark, Diego Costa was played in by Cesc Fabregas. The ball was going wide, but Matus Kozacik got in the way and the Chelsea striker was taken down inside the area. Andreas Iniesta stepped up to the spot, sent the goal keeper the wrong way and slotted the ball into the bottom left hand corner to double his nation's lead.
A dangerous free kick was headed away by Slovakia in the 40th minute, but the AR had already raised his flag as a couple of Spanish footballers were offside. Finally, Marek Hamsik got Slovakia's first good chance of the half but his shot, which was heading towards the far post, was stopped well by Iker Casillas as he dove down to his right.
HT: Spain 2-0 Slovakia
This was the first half that Spain was hoping for, moving the ball with ease, defending well, taking their chances, and making the opposition defense and goal keeper work.
The second half was little duller. The chances came few and far between, with most of the decent lookgs going to the Spaniards. David Silva received the ball inside the penalty area right after the half time interval, his shot though hit the side netting as he was going for the near post. Then Ďuriš nearly pulled one back for Slovakia. However, the heroics by Casillas -- he pushed the ball wide of the far post -- kept the two-goal lead.
Diego Costa set up David Silva just after the hour mark and it could have been 3-0 if it were not for some fine work from Kozacik tipping the ball over the top of the goal. The Chelsea striker was involved in the play one more time in the 72nd minute with an audacious bicycle kick fell to Juanfran who was not expecting the ball and blasted his shot into row z.
It was a good victory for Spain as they played some of their best football in recent months, toppling the group leaders in the process and moving closer to the European Championships.