Nolito and Alvaro Morata were the star men as Spain made a mockery of South Korea’s recent fine form, winning 6-1 on the road to Euro 2016.
Uli Stielike had told his Korean side to play with the belief that they could beat the double-defending European champions, but a national-record run of nine games without conceding was emphatically ended in Salzburg.
David Silva’s stunning free-kick brought the match to life on the half-hour, but things soon went from the sublime to the ridiculous as Korean goalkeeper Kim Jin-hyeon’s comical error presented Cesc Fabregas with a tap-in.
Nolito and Alvaro Morata enhanced their chances of a place in Vicente del Bosque’s frontline with a pair of goals each, though this week’s arrival of Atletico and Real Madrid players – none of whom featured here – will give the Spain coach plenty to ponder.
After scoring twice in the 3-1 win over Bosnia-Herzegovina last time out, Nolito delivered another two-goal show which could convince Del Bosque that he deserves a regular role and his presence on the shoulder of the defence was an early menace, but Jang Hyun-soo was alert to the danger.
Morata found the net soon after, though it was ruled out for offside, but there was no denying Silva – who bent a superb set-piece right into the angle from fully 30 yards to get the ball rolling.
Kim’s moment of madness – failing to gather the ball after a Jang header back – allowed Morata to tee up Fabregas, and it was three before the break as Cesar Azpilicueta angled a neat ball into Nolito, who cut inside and finished through the goalkeeper’s legs.
Four half-time changes did little to quell Spain’s momentum. One of the substitutes, Thiago Alcantara, saw a free-kick from the left drift all the way in, only for Gerard Pique’s presence beyond the last man to prompt the linesman’s flag.
The Bayern Munich man delivered tellingly just three minutes later as his corner from the left was headed home by Morata and Nolito grabbed his second with a powerful finish after Hector Bellerin and Thiago linked up superbly on the right.
Del Bosque replaced Pique with Aritz Aduriz, who joined Morata up top with Bruno Soriano dropping into defence, but Ju Se-jong scored with an effort which deflected off Bruno and past debutant goalkeeper Sergio Rico.
Nevertheless, the tactical reshuffle suggests the holders will enter Euro 2016 with the Plan B which they devastatingly lacked as they went out of the 2014 World Cup in the group stage, and Morata added to the positivity with a narrow late finish to cap a fine outing.
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