Villa gets nod in last Spain match vs. Australia
CURITIBA, Brazil (AP) — David Villa was selected to start his last international match for Spain, which made seven changes to its starting lineup to face Australia in a World Cup Group B match between two teams already out of contention in Brazil.
Villa was aiming to add to his record tally of 58 goals in his 97th — and final — appearance for Spain, which exits after a disappointing World Cup defense that opened with losses to Netherlands and Chile.
Andres Iniesta earns his 100th cap for Spain, with goalkeeper Pepe Reina making his World Cup debut as a replacement for captain Iker Casillas.
Defenders Raul Albiol and Juanfran Torres, midfielders Santi Cazorla and Koke, and striker Fernando Torres were all starting for the first time in Brazil.
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has played just 12 minutes in Brazil, was left on the bench following a training ground spat with coach Vicente del Bosque.
Adam Taggart replaces suspended forward Tim Cahill in the Australia lineup, with Oliver Bozanic slotting in for veteran midfielder Mark Bresciano. That leaves the Socceroos without two of their most seasoned players for their last game of the tournament.
Spain and Australia each go into the match after two losses — Spain was thrashed 5-1 by the Netherlands and lost 2-0 to Chile. Australia lost 3-1 to Chile and 3-2 to the Netherlands. Chile and the Netherlands play for top spot in Group B.
Australia: Mat Ryan, Ryan McGowan, Jason Davidson, Matthew Spiranovic, Alex Wilkinson, Matt McKay, Mile Jedinak, Oliver Bozanic, Tommy Oar, Matthew Leckie, Adam Taggart.
Spain: Pepe Reina, Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol, Jordi Alba, Juanfran Torres, Koke, Xabi Alonso, Santi Cazorla, Andres Iniesta, Fernando Torres, David Villa.