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It was always going to be tough for this young Socceroos line-up without their talisman Tim Cahill, but to fall 3-0 to defending champions in their final hit-out of this World Cup is hardly a disgrace.

Australia lacked any cutting edge without their X-factor, the veteran striker Cahill, who'd found the net so spectacularly in their opening two defeats - including perhaps the goal of the tournament with a volley in the 3-2 loss to Holland - before copping a second yellow card and being suspended. 

When the honour roll of goal scorers is read out thought, Ange Postecoglou's lads can't be disappointed - David Villa, then Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, or Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid (on his way to New York City via Melbourne Heart), Chelsea and Manchester United.

In a dead rubber after both teams lost to Holland and Chile, it could have been hard for either team to be inspired but Vincente del Bosque's men were shaken up to given their other superstars a run - and everyone had something to prove. 

Quality was lacking for the Aussies though, by a long way, and not for the Spanish. 

It was Villa in the 36th minute who opened the scoring, with a brilliant back-heel after Jason Davidson was beaten at left-back by Juanfran - pure class. 

It wasn't until the 69th minute that Spain struck again, sitting on the shoulder of the last man as he does before being released and finishing inside Mat Ryan's far post - it was all Iniesta in the build up, but Torres took it well. . 

Juan Mata then made it look easy, slotting his finish between Ryan's legs after being kept on by ball-watching Davidson

Meanwhile, the likes of Cesc Fabregas and David Silva were coming off the bench, showing the ridiculous depth on offer to Spain, making their bowing out of the tournament so early all the more baffling. 

For the Aussies, the next task is the Asian Cup - which they host - and after how they've acquitted themselves here in the toughest group at the tournament, they have to be confident. 

Images via Getty


Spain's Villa, Torres and Mata end Socceroos' gallant World Cup campaign with a touch of class
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