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Rediff.com  » Sports » Lively Danny delivers for Portugal, Spain thrash Poland

Lively Danny delivers for Portugal, Spain thrash Poland

Last updated on: June 9, 2010 09:20 IST

Danny takes advantage of timely opportunity

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Portugal winger Danny took full advantage of the opportunity presented by an injury to Nani on Tuesday with a goal and an assist in his team's 3-0 win over Mozambique in their final friendly before the World Cup.

Nani was ruled out of the tournament on Tuesday due to a shoulder injury which he sustained in training in Portugal after falling while attempting an acrobatic shot.

"In my 30-year career in sports this was the most difficult case I had to deal with, but he was in pain and there was no other option," coach Carlos Queiroz said.

Possibly as a result, Queiroz chose the safe option against Mozambique and started Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench.

The 28,000-strong crowd at the Wanderers cricket ground were disappointed not to see the world's most expensive player start and made the stands shake when he finally came on in the 62nd minute.

Danny was the liveliest Portuguese player from the start, linking up well with Deco and Simao as Portugal missed a host of chances. It was the African team, however, who came closest to scoring, when midfielder Hagy fired a thunderous long distance shot that crashed against Eduardo's post on 40 minutes.


Image: Danny celebrates after scoring
Photographs: Reuters
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'Nani was in the best form from all of us'

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The Portuguese took control in the second half, with Danny sidestepping keeper Lama after a Deco through ball to score on 52 minutes. The Zenit player turned provider in the 75th minute, making a fine assist for substitute Hugo Almeida to tap in.

"I started today and things went well. But we are all very sad for Nani. In my opinion he was the player in the best form from all of us," Danny said.

Portugal also had positive news on injuries, with midfielder Pepe coming on for the last quarter of hour to play for the first time since sustaining a knee injury in December.

"I was quite anxious before the match, it was as if I was going to play the first match in my life...while we were warming up, Ronaldo told me to remain calm, which helped," he said.

Ronaldo's main contribution to the match came in the 83rd minute, when his powerful drive was parried by Lama straight to Almeida who scored his second with another simple finish.

Portugal begin their World Cup Group G campaign against Ivory Coast on June 15 before matches with North Korea and Brazil.


Image: Portugal's Nani (left) watches the match from the bench

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Spain thrash Poland 6-0

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Striker Fernando Torres returned from injury as a substitute and scored for Spain in a 6-0 rout of Poland, their final World Cup warm-up match on Tuesday.

The forward came on for David Villa after 66 minutes, making his first appearance since having knee surgery in April, and netted the side's fifth goal 10 minutes later.

He was the only member of Vicente del Bosque's 23-man squad who had yet to feature after warm-up wins over Saudi Arabia and South Korea in Austria.

The European champions had failed to impress in either of those games but were back to their best on home turf with Villa, David Silva, Xabi Alonso, Cesc Fabregas, and Pedro adding the other goals.

"I haven't played for almost two months and was very keen to return, but I wasn't as ready as I thought and had to ease off a little (last week)," Torres told Spanish state television.

"The coach and the doctors held me back a while, but in the end they gave me a run out, and I managed to score."

The only concern for Del Bosque was midfielder Andres Iniesta who asked to be substituted just before the break with a thigh muscle strain.


Image: Spain's David Silva (left) celebrates with team-mate Andres Iniesta after scoring

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Torres gets rousing reception from fans

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With a starting XI that looked much like their strongest line up Spain raced into the lead, Iniesta crossing for Villa to put away with the defender's help, as they slid in at the back post after 12 minutes.

Villa's 38th goal for Spain, which leaves him just six short of record holder Raul, rocked the Poles and they quickly conceded a fabulous second.

Iniesta was stationary and surrounded by defenders when he spotted Barcelona team mate Xavi's run into the area, and lifted the ball over the defence. Xavi squared first time for Silva who slotted away unmarked.

Poland held World Cup-bound Serbia to a 0-0 draw last week and forced Iker Casillas into a one-handed save, but there was little else for the Spanish captain to do.

Alonso's long-range shot deflected in after 51 minutes, and substitute Fabregas scored with almost his first touch in the 58th after running onto an Alonso through ball.

Torres was given a rousing reception when he ran on and crowned his comeback with a goal, a first-time shot from Pedro's low cross after a trademark Spanish passing move.

Torres raced into the area in the 81st minute and when the ball broke free after the Polish keeper saved, Pedro lobbed a sixth.

Spain's opening Group H fixture is against Switzerland in Durban on June 16, before they face Honduras and then Chile.


Image: Spain's Fernando Torres (right) celebrates with team-mate Pedro Rodriguez after netting the fifth goal

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