World Cup favorites Spain recovered from a surprise defeat in their group opener to ease past Honduras, 2-0, at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Monday.
David Villa tallied both goals, but the recent Barcelona acquisition missed a penalty kick to rob him of his hat trick. All told, the scoreline flattered a poor Honduras team that had little going forward and was fragile at the back.
For La Furia Roja, though, it was vintage soccer from the get-go—the overwhelming possession, careful touches and crisp passing were all on hand—but the European champions failed to shake off those same problems that plagued them in their loss to Switzerland, namely scuffing the final touch after a near-flawless buildup.
It was perhaps unsurprising, then, that their opening goal came from sublime solo play sparked by Gerard Pique's innocuous diagonal pass from left to right.
Villa, positioned midway into Honduras' half, collected the looping ball and then cut inside and headed toward goal, beating two defenders with ease before placing his effort into the far top corner.
Honduras were lucky to escape into the half just a goal down, with Spain registering eight shots on goal and tallying 22 touches in the Catrachos' box in the first 45 minutes alone.
But it wasn't long after the break that Spain doubled their lead when Xavi set up Villa in space. The former Valencia man fired his shot through traffic, and the ball found the net after taking a decent deflection.
Villa was denied a hat trick, though, when he missed a penalty kick in the 60th minute.
Spain won the call in the 60th minute after Emilio Izaguirre tripped Jesus Navas just inside the box. Villa stepped up to take the spot kick, but he dragged his effort just wide of the right post.
Villa had another opportunity to make it three, but after collecting a square pass he took too many touches inside the box, allowing Honduras defender Sergio Mendoza to slide in and block the shot.
Spain could have taken an early lead in the 7th minute, but Villa's long-ranged effort caromed off the woodwork. Villa then found Sergio Ramos with a curling cross, but the defender's poor header sailed over bar.
Honduras' best—and perhaps only—chance came in the 17th minute after Walter Martinez and David Suazo combined at the edge of the box, but goalkeeper Iker Casillas came off his line to quash the threat.
With the win, Spain moves into a tie for second with Switzerland, who defeated Spain last week but fell to Chile today, 1-0.
Chile lead the group with 6 points. They play Spain in the group finale on June 25.
SPA: Villa, 17th minute
SPA: Villa, 51st minute
Spain: 1-Iker Casillas; 15-Sergio Ramos, 3-Gerard Pique, 5-Carles Puyol, 11-Joan Capdevila; 22-Jesus Navas, 14-Xabi Alonso, 8-Xavi (Cesc Fabregas), 16-Sergio Busquets; 9-Fernando Torres (Juan Mata), 7-David Villa.
Honduras: 18-Noel Valladares; 23-Sergio Mendoza, 2-Osman Chavez, 3-Maynor Figueroa, 21-Emilio Izaguirre; 19-Danilo Turcios (Ramon Nunez), 8-Wilson Palacios, 20-Amado Guevara, 13-Roger Espinoza (Georgie Welcome); 15-Walter Martinez; 11-David Suazo (Jerry Palacios).
Referee: Yuichi Nishimura (Japan)
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