Spain, Portugal victorious in final World Cup tune-ups

Sports Desk, Nov 17 (EFE).- Spain beat Jordan 3-1 and Portugal thrashed Nigeria 4-0 Thursday as the Iberian sides prepared for World Cup 2022 in Qatar against opponents who failed to qualify for the quadrennial championship.

In Amman, the 2010 World Cup winners had 74 percent possession and kept the hosts off the scoreboard until the 91st minute.

Spain coach Luis Enrique took full advantage of the opportunity to experiment with different combinations. Only three of the starting 11 played the entire match.

Ansu Fati put La Roja ahead in the 13th minute with an assist from Marco Asensio and goalkeeper Robert Sanchez denied Yazan Al-Naimat’s bid for an equalizer following a giveaway by Pau Torres.

The visitors started the second half with David Raya between the posts instead of Sanchez, while Cesar Azpilicueta replaced Dani Carvajal on the back line.

Jordan had a spell of good play and Raya was tested a couple of times before Gavi extended Spain’s lead in the 56th minute.

Up 2-0, Luis Enrique made four more changes after the second goal and with 20 minutes left, he subbed out Fati in favor of Nico Williams, who made it 3-0 in the 84th minute.

Hamza Al-Dardour got the consolation goal for the hosts in stoppage time.

Spain will kick off their World Cup campaign Nov. 23 against Costa Rica in Group E, which also includes Germany and Japan.

Portugal were without captain Cristiano Ronaldo for Thursday’s match in Lisbon against Nigeria.

Amid the controversy spurred by his complaints about the Manchester United organization in an interview with Piers Morgan, the five-time Ballon d’Or missed the friendly due to a bout of gastritis.

Two of his teammates at Old Trafford combined to open the scoring for Portugal in the 9th minute, when Bruno Fernandes scored with an assist from Diogo Dalot.

Fernandes doubled the lead from the penalty spot in the 35th after a hand ball by Nigerian defender Bright Osayi-Samuel and nearly completed the hat trick before the break.

The African side had a chance to get back into the game in the final 10 minutes.

Dalot fouled Osayi-Samuel in the area and the referee pointed to the spot, but Portugal keeper Rui Patricio denied Emmanuel Dennis and the hosts got two more goals – from Goncalo Ramos and Joao Mario – in the space of three minutes.

For the World Cup, Portugal are in Group H along with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea. EFE cmg-pfm/dr

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