Spain beaten by late Kroos missile for Germany
Updated: 2014-11-19 10:44
Spain's Marc Bartra (L) fights for the ball with Germany's Toni Kroos during their international friendly soccer match at Balaidos stadium in Vigo November 18, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
VIGO, Spain - Toni Kroos struck with a fierce long-range shot a minute from time to give Germany a 1-0 victory over Spain in a friendly between two injury-depleted European heavyweights in Vigo on Tuesday.
Kroos' effort settled a match played in lashing rain that was short on chances although goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, who came off the bench to make his Spain debut, will be furious he let the ball past him after getting into position to palm it away.
Germany forward Mario Goetze, who scored the winner against Argentina in July's World Cup final, had gone closest on a foul night in Galicia but Iker Casillas brilliantly saved his 20th-minute effort.
Beating the 2010 World Cup winners and 2012 European champions was a fitting way for Germany to end a stellar year during which they claimed their fourth World Cup crown.
Spain, who beat Germany 1-0 in the semi-finals four years ago the last time they met, will now have to pick themselves up and continue rebuilding after their failed title defence in Brazil.
"We know that we are in a period of transition and we are optimistic about the future," Spain coach Vicente del Bosque told a news conference.
"The match was very even," he added. "Either team could have won and it was only the Kroos goal that decided it."
Del Bosque started with debutant Nolito, who plays for local side Celta Vigo, and Alvaro Morata up front, with playmaker Isco in the creative role just behind.
Del Bosque's Germany counterpart Joachim Loew deployed Thomas Mueller, Goetze and Kevin Volland in his forward line, while Sami Khedira and Kroos, who both play for Real Madrid, featured in midfield.
Nolito tested Germany keeper Ron-Robert Zieler in the 12th minute and, after Casillas had denied Goetze, Isco fired high and wide when well placed on the edge of the area.
Del Bosque made a host of changes in the second half and Nolito went close with a 59th-minute free kick before Kroos secured Germany's first win against Spain since they won 4-1 in a friendly in Hanover in August 2000.
"We wanted this success in our final game of the year," Kroos told reporters.
"We were very solid in defence and didn't let much through," he added. "It was a great year and a good finish."