SPAIN coach Vicente Del Bosque hailed the finishing prowess of Roberto Soldado after his hat-trick helped the world champions to a 5-0 win over Venezuela.
Valencia striker Soldado was handed the chance to impress at the expense of Fernando Torres, who was left out of the squad due to his poor form with Chelsea, and seized it with both hands.
A half-time substitute, Soldado made it 4-0 with a quick-fire double after earlier goals from Andres Iniesta and David Silva and, despite missing a penalty, completed his hat-trick seven minutes from time.
Del Bosque said: “I have to commend Roberto Soldado because he did what a striker should do: finish.
“He finished well to complete a fine build-up play from Jordi Alba, Santi Cazorla and Alvaro Arbeloa, among others.’’
“Soldado did well but there are still two and a half months of competition in which we will assess and analyse all options.
“What is certain is that those who go to the Euros will be the most deserving.’’
Venezuela put up little resistance and their miserable evening was compounded by the second-half dismissal of Athletic Bilbao defender Fernando Amorebieta.
“During the first half-hour they caused us problems but then we imposed our quality,’’ said Del Bosque.
“In the second half, when they were more open, everything was a little less complicated.’’
Soldado’s display re-opened the debate over whether Spain are better with a figurehead in attack or the alternative ‘false number nine’ approach, which sees a greater emphasis on attacking midfield players.