David Silva struck a brace as Spain beat Belgium 2-0 in Brussels on Thursday to give Julen Lopetegui a winning start as their new coach.
Julen Lopetegui’s leadership of Spain got off to a winning start with a comfortable 2-0 friendly win against Belgium in Brussels on Thursday, with David Silva scoring a brace.
Belgium were also playing under a new coach – Roberto Martinez having replaced Marc Wilmots after Euro 2016 – but they struggled to create clear openings at the King Baudouin Stadium.
Silva gave Spain the lead in the first half, finishing well from inside the box after Vitolo did well down the right wing, before the Manchester City playmaker added a second after the break.
Vitolo was fouled by a struggling Jordan Lukaku in the penalty area and Silva made no mistake from 12 yards, converting a caressed spot-kick with ease.
It was not all good news for Lopetegui, however, as Spain’s preparations for their opening World Cup qualifying match with Liechtenstein on Monday were hit by an injury to Alvaro Morata.
Belgium get their campaign under way in Cyprus the following day and Martinez will demand an improvement on this flat performance.
An early mistake by David de Gea almost presented Belgium with the opener in the sixth minute, but Axel Witsel shot wide after the Manchester United goalkeeper fumbled Eden Hazard’s cross.
Thiago Alcantara had Spain’s first sight of goal after 19 minutes but he got his volley all wrong and it bounced harmlessly wide of Thibaut Courtois’ left-hand post.
Spain were dealt a blow when Morata limped off with a suspected hamstring injury, with Diego Costa replacing the Real Madrid forward.
Despite the loss of Morata, the visitors took the lead after 33 minutes.
Vitolo beat Courtois to a throughball down the right channel and pulled a low cross back for Costa to divert to Silva, who applied the finish via a deflection off Thomas Meunier.
Spain had the ball in the net again after 38 minutes when Vitolo volleyed in a right-wing corner, but referee Benoit Bastien spotted an infringement and disallowed the goal.
Lopetegui’s men began the second half with the same purpose they had shown in the first period, with Courtois making a fine save to keep out a Gerard Pique header from Koke’s free-kick.
Costa was then denied Spain’s second goal by his Chelsea team-mate Courtois after 56 minutes, the goalkeeper thrusting out a leg to block the striker’s shot.
But Courtois could do nothing to stop Spain doubling their lead shortly after when Lukaku brought down Vitolo in the box.
Silva stepped up to send Courtois the wrong way and give Spain the extended advantage their dominance deserved, with Koke fizzing a late chance for a third wide of the post.
Belgium almost scored a consolation with seven minutes to play, but De Gea tipped a deflected Kevin De Bruyne drive over the crossbar.