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Sports & Off The Pitch
Feb 6 2013 11:33PM
 
Spain beat Uruguay 3-1, Croatia rout South Korea 4-0
Croatia rout South Korea. Picture: Reuters
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Spain beat South American champions Uruguay 3-1 in a football friendly on Wednesday to stretch their unbeaten run to 18 games.

The world and European champions were guided to victory in the game billed as the "Battle of Champions" in Doha by winger Pedro, who scored twice in the second half.

Spain started the match with no less than seven Barcelona players, despite the absence of injured playmaker Xavi. Barca defender Carles Puyol was captain in place of injured goalkeeper Iker Casillas and earned his 100th cap.

Cesc Fabregas gave La Roja the lead in the 17th minute with a speculative long shot that Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera nervously fumbled into his own goal.

16 minutes later, Cristian Rodriguez made it 1-1 with a calm finish after being set up by defender Fernando Caceres.

Pedro, who has been formidable this season for Spain, took centre stage in the second half. He made it 2-1 six minutes into the second half with a precise low shot, after a blunder by Uruguay's Diego Godin.

The diminuitive winger sealed Spain's win 16 minutes from time from close range after a delightful centre from Fabregas.

"I am pleased with the goals and the victory. It's not always easy to have the right attitude in friendly matches, but today we had a good mentality and a lot of ambition," Pedro said.

Spain are now unbeaten in 18 games since a 1-0 defeat in England in November 2011.

England were hosting the 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil at Wembley, where Ashley Cole was to win his 100th England cap as Luiz Felipe Scolari returned to the coaching job at the Selecao.

Euro 2012 runners-up Italy were at the Netherlands and France hosted Germany in two other high-profile meetings, while the Sweden v Argentina clash was to be a showdown between Lionel Messi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Elsewhere, Bundesliga top scorer Mario Mandzukic of Bayern Munich, Darijo Srna, Nikica Jelavic and Mladen Petric were on target in Croatia's 4-0 rout of South Korea in London.

Dusan Tadic got a brace as Serbia won 3-1 in Cyprus, Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine won 2-0 against Norway, Bosnia prevailed 3-0 in Slovenia and the Czech Republic won 2-0 in Turkey.

Kasper Schmeichel, the son of legendary goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel, won his first Denmark cap between the posts but was beaten three times in Skopje in a 3-0 defeat against Macedonia from first-half goals by Goran Pandev, Agim Ibraimi and Nikolce Noveski.

-Sapa-dpa

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