• Friendly success ... for Spain over Uruguay (Getty Images)
Spain gave itself the perfect confidence booster ahead of its upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers next month by recording a comfortable 3-1 victory over Uruguay in an international friendly in Doha, Qatar.
PA Sport

7 Feb 2013 - 8:27 AM  UPDATED 7 Feb 2013 - 9:07 AM

Cesc Fabregas gave the European and world champion the lead after 15
minutes at the Khalifa Stadium but Cristian Rodriguez levelled for
Oscar Tabarez's side on the half-hour mark.

Pedro Rodriguez restored Spain's lead just after half-time and then
secured the victory with a close-range finish with 15 minutes to go.

The game was coach Vicente del Bosque's 68th game in charge of the
national side, which took him level with Ladislao Kubala as the man who
has coached Spain for the most games.

The match also saw centre-back Carles Puyol make his 100th appearance
for Spain and he captained the side to mark the occasion, while Cesar
Azpilicueta, Isco and Mario Suarez all made their international debuts.

Spain started the brighter of the two sides but took the lead in
fortuitous fashion. Fabregas received the ball in plenty of space from
Juan Mata and tried his luck from 30 yards out, but was amazed to see
his shot go through the hands of Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and
drop into the net.

Uruguay responded well and put pressure on Spain immediately, with
Victor Valdes and Jordi Alba having to react quickly on different
occasions to clear the danger.

But Cristian Rodriguez eventually made the pressure count and grabbed
the equaliser, receiving a throughball by Martin Caceres and using his
strength to turn Puyol and then shoot past Valdes.

The Copa America holder could even have taken the lead before
half-time but Sergio Ramos made an important tackle on the edge of the
area to deny Edinson Cavani a clean run on goal.

Puyol was replaced by Barca team-mate Gerard Pique at half-time and
the substitute had the desired impact within little more than five
minutes of coming on, providing a pass from the edge of the area to
Pedro who shot past Muslera into the far corner to put Spain in
front again.

Tabarez's side's best chance to equalise came when Cavani fired a
shot at goal from just inside the area, but Valdes tipped the ball away
for a corner.

With half-an-hour remaining the lively Andres Iniesta made way to
allow 20-year-old Isco to make his first appearance for his country, and
the Malaga midfielder showed he has plenty to offer in the future as
his energy and skill meant Spain was no less dangerous without Iniesta.

Spain rounded off the victory with a goal to saviour with 15 minutes
remaining. Substitute David Villa received the ball from outside the
area and passed to Fabregas on the left-hand side. The former Arsenal
man was under pressure from a defender but swung in a perfect cross to
the back post which was met by Pedro, who could not miss from barely
five yards out.

Villa missed a chance to increase the lead in stoppage-time when his
close-range effort was saved by Muslera, but Spain will have been more
than satisfied with its performance and the result.