Spain defeated Argentina 2-1 in an impressive performance in the friendly in Madrid yesterday. Xabi Alonso scored once on either side of half- time to seal victory for the Spanish side who now look one of the favorites to win the World Cup in South Africa next year.

The match was a part of celebrations by the Spanish Football Federation to commemorate the centenary year of its formation, and Alonso ensured the home side were in front when he pounced on a rebound off a David Villa shot and netted the ball home to give Spain the lead. Argentina equalized through Lionel Messi’s spot kick with 60 minutes on the clock and a tied score line showed the intensity with which the match was played.

Spain were clearly the better side in the fits half but Messi’s goal spurred the Argentines on as both sides looked like they could take the win in the second half. However, it was Alonso again in the 86th minute when he converted off a penalty kick to virtually end the hopes of the Argentina supporters in the crowd.

With this victory, the Spanish have won 38 out of their last 43 games. More amazingly, they have lost just once in those 43 games. The Spanish team has emerged as one of the strong contenders for the World Cup to be held in South Africa next year.