Spain, Russia draw 0-0

Spain drew Russia 0-0 in a World Cup warmup after struggling to create chances against the visitors' disciplined defence on Saturday.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:34 IST
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Spain drew Russia 0-0 in a World Cup warmup after struggling to create chances against the visitors' disciplined defence on Saturday. Spain extended its undefeated run to 20 matches under coach Luis Aragones, although it was one of his side's least impressive displays. Aragones, who took charge after Spain flopped in the European Championship two years ago, has guided the team to 12 wins and eight draws. Left on bench Spain organised the match against Russia because its opening Cup match on June 14 is against Russia's neighbour Ukraine. Tunisia and Saudi Arabia are also in Group H. "We had chances, we couldn't score, although we showed a good attitude on the field," Spain substitute Andres Iniesta told Spanish state TV. "We need to work to improve. There's little time left. Anyway, I'm optimistic about the World Cup." Spain was without injured fullbacks Michel Salgado and Asier Del Horno, while the national team's all-time leading scorer Raul Gonzalez was left on the bench. Brisk pace Aragones' side began at a brisk pace with Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev parrying Luis Garcia's and David Villa's shots, and Fernando Torres firing wide in the first 20 minutes. Russia, which is under caretaker coach Pavel Borodyuk until Guus Hiddink takes over after leading Australia in the World Cup, created only one first-half chance - Alexander Anyukov's 32nd-minute volley being blocked by goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Aragones made four changes at the start of the second half, bringing on Raul and handing FC Barcelona midfielder Iniesta his international debut. Yet Spain continued to labor against Russia's organized defense and didn't create another opportunity until the 63rd minute when Torres headed wide from a cross by the team's fifth substitute, Jose Antonio Reyes. Missed chance Raul, who hasn't scored a goal for Real Madrid or Spain since last October, wasted a good chance following a forceful run a minute later and headed wide in the 67th as the home team briefly upped the pace. Akinfeyev dived to save Reyes' drive in the 74th but despite late pressure the Russians' line held firm. Spain entertains Egypt in Elche on June 3 and completes preparations against Croatia in Geneva, Switzerland four days later. The draw was Spain's first in three games with Russia. It also played predecessors Soviet Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States five times, gaining two wins, two draws and a defeat. Lineups: Spain: Iker Casillas: Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Pablo Ibanez, Antonio Lopez (Joaquin Sanchez, 72), David Albelda (Xabi Alonso, 46), Cesc Fabregas (Xavi Hernandez, 46), Marcos Senna (Andres Iniesta, 46), Fernando Torres, David Villa (Jose Antonio Reyes, 62), Luis Garcia (Raul Gonzalez, 46). Russia: Igor Akinfeyev; Alexei Berezutskiy (Konstantin Zyryanov, 63), Sergei Ignashevich, Vasiliy Berezutskiy, Alexei Smertin, Yevgeni Aldonin (Sergei Semak, 73), Dmitry Loskov, Diniyar Belyaletdinov (Dmitry Kirichenko, 92), Alexander Anyukov, Andrei Arshavin (Yegor Titov, 46), Alexander Kerzhakov (Dmitry Sychev, 46). (AP)