Para Siempre Blanco

Mexico 1-1 Spain

Mexico 1-1 Spain

Silva salvages draw for Spain

David Silva struck in stoppage time to earn world champions Spain a draw in Mexico after Javier Hernandez had given the hosts an early lead.

A spirit of celebration was in the air at the legendary Estadio Azteca but the game failed to live up to expectations as even a 12th-minute strike from Manchester United new boy Hernandez could not light up a drab affair. Mexico thought they were heading for a famous victory but new Manchester City signing Silva levelled in added time to spare Spain’s blushes. The strike saw Carlos Marchena extend his impressive record with the national team – he has now made 56 appearances for his country without defeat.

It was La Roja’s first outing since adding the World Cup trophy to their European Championship title this summer, while Mexico were celebrating the 200th anniversary of gaining independence from, fittingly, Spain. Eighteen of the World Cup-winning 23 were present, with four of those who featured in the final in the starting line-up and six others appearing from the bench. Their lack of match-fitness after just returning from holiday was clear to see.

Spain started the game brightly but failed to carve out any real goalscoring opportunities. And they were stunned in the 12th minute when Hernandez opened the scoring, racing into the box to fire home Andres Guardado’s cross. It was the first goal Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas had conceded in 445 minutes of international football – the last shot that went past him was Rodrigo Millar’s for Chile in the World Cup group stages.

Hernandez almost doubled his tally seven minutes later but Marchena cleared in the nick of time. The game clearly meant more to Mexico than it did to Spain as the hosts upped the pressure every time they had the ball while there was no real sense of urgency among Vicente Del Bosque’s men. However, Spain could have levelled on the half-hour mark. Fernando Llorente’s effort was poorly cleared by the Mexico defence and it fell straight back to the forward, who was about to let fly again before Hector Moreno blasted it away.

They went even closer moments later when Santi Cazorla’s 30-yard effort crashed off the crossbar. Mexico reacted immediately and would have extended their advantage had Casillas not pulled off a stunning save to tip Rafael Marquez’s effort around the post.

Del Bosque rang the changes at half-time, bringing on Xabi Alonso, Victor Valdes, Jesus Navas, Sergio Ramos and Silva, but the game failed to improve, especially as Mexico also replaced Hernandez, the game’s best player by far. There was little to note in the second half before Pedro was brought on in the 72nd minute, and the Barcelona striker almost levelled matters two minutes later when he fired narrowly over.

Pedro went close again late on but saw his shot well saved by Mexico goalkeeper Jose de Jesus Corona before, minutes later, he failed to properly control Navas’ cross and sent his effort wide. Mexico thought they were going to cap a night of celebration with victory but were to be denied as a stunning pass from Xavi – who had been largely anonymous since coming on just after the hour mark – set up Silva for the equalizer. Silva almost snatched a late winner but sent his shot inches wide of the right upright.

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