Spain routs Slovakia in World Cup playoff

Updated: 25 February 2007 09:53 IST

Luis Garcia scored a hat trick and Spain crushed Slovakia 5-1 in the first leg of their World Cup playoff on Saturday.

Spain routs Slovakia in World Cup playoff

Madrid:

Luis Garcia scored a hat trick and Spain crushed Slovakia 5-1 in the first leg of their World Cup playoff on Saturday. Fernando Torres converted a penalty and substitute Fernando Morientes added the fifth goal at the Vicente Calderon stadium to help Spain move closer to its eighth straight appearance in the World Cup finals. Substitute Szilard Nemeth netted Slovakia's consolation goal early in the second half following a mistake by Garcia. Italian referee Massimo De Santis ejected Slovakia coach Dusan Galis and defender Marian Had for protesting. Galis went after Garcia's second goal and Had was sent off after the penalty. "In the World Cup, you have the best players and the best teams,'' Galis said. "You should also have the best referees. We knew we could lose but we didn't think it would happen in this way. Some of the refereeing decisions were incredible.'' The teams meet again in Bratislava on Wednesday, although Slovakia's heavy defeat looks certain to have ended its hopes of a place in the finals for the first time since the country split from the Czech Republic in 1993. "My mistake made us all a little nervous but in the end we got a great result and we can go there pretty calm,'' Garcia told Spanish state TV. The win in front of Spanish King Juan Carlos and Crown Prince Felipe extended coach Luis Aragones' unbeaten record to 17 games. (AP)

Topics : Football Spain
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