|(Football) Debutant puts Spain in driving seat
Pedro Rodriguez's goal was enough to give World champions Spain a 1-0 win over Italy in their final game before coach Vicente del Bosque names his squad to defend their title later this year in Brazil.
Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa was handed his debut on home soil at Spain’s Vicente Calderon Stadium in what was a rematch of the Euro 2012 final in which Spain successfully defend their title, AFP reports.
However, Costa failed to make much of an impression and it was Spain's top goalscorer in qualification, Pedro, who made the difference when his shot squirmed under Gianluigi Buffon just after the hour mark.
Spain started well and could have been in front after just 80 seconds when a characteristic burst forward from left-back by Jordi Alba forced Buffon into a brave save.
It was the visitors who nearly went ahead in fortunate circumstances moments later, though, as Alessio Cerci's attempted cross came back off the inside of the post and into the grateful arms of Iker Casillas.
Both sides made three changes at the break as David Silva, Xabi Alonso and Victor Valdes came on for the hosts, whilst Pirlo was introduced alongside Ignazio Abate and Mattia de Sciglio by Cesare Prandelli.
It was Silva who nearly had an immediate impact as his through ball released Thiago, but the Bayern Munich midfielder was denied by a stunning save from Buffon.
Silva then fired wide when he should have hit the target when well-placed just outside the area on his favoured left foot.
The Manchester City midfielder was involved again when Spain did eventually make the breakthrough on 63 minutes as after a lovely one-two between him and Iniesta, the ball fell kindly for Pedro and his low effort squeezed in despite Buffon's best efforts.
Costa's final chance for a debut goal came and went 10 minutes from time when his shot flashed across goal.