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Spain tops Uruguay 3-1 in int'l friendly

SOCCER SPAIN/URUGUAY | 06 de febrero de 2013

Spanish midfielder Juan Mata (left) battles for the ball with Uruguay's Martin Caceres during Wednesday's international friendly in Doha. Spain's national team showed off its ball-hogging brilliance in its first match of 2013, getting two goals from Pedro in a 3-1 victory over the reigning Copa America champions. EFE

Doha, Feb 6 (EFE).- Spain's national team showed off its ball-hogging brilliance in its first match of 2013, getting two goals from Pedro in a 3-1 victory here Wednesday over reigning Copa America champion Uruguay in an international friendly.

Spain was without three key members of its 2010 World Cup-winning squad - goalkeeper Iker Casillas and midfielders Xabi Alonso and Xavi Hernandez - but still controlled play throughout the match, which was played in Doha after Qatar paid 3 million euros ($4 million) for the rights to host the contest.

The first goal came on a blunder by Uruguayan net minder Fernando Muslera, who badly misplayed a long-distance strike by Spanish midfielder Cesc Fabregas and allowed the ball to dribble past the line.

Uruguay bounced back, however, in the 31st minute, when Atletico Madrid winger Cristian Rodriguez beat defender Carles Puyol and fired a shot past Victor Valdes and into the back of the net.

The second half then belonged to FC Barcelona forward Pedro, who in the 51st minute received a pass from Gerard Pique and fired a right-footed strike past Muslera and in the 74th scored on an assist from Fabregas to give Spain an insurance goal.

Uruguay will get a chance for revenge this summer when it takes on the defending European champions on June 16 in the first Group B match of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Both squads have been drawn in Group B along with Tahiti and the African champion, while Group A includes Brazil, Japan, Mexico and Italy.

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