Manizales, Colombia, Aug 7 : Striker Alvaro Vazquez scored three early goals as Spain easily defeated Australia 5-1 in its final group match of the Under-20 World Cup on Saturday.
Spain had already qualified for the knockout round and won despite resting several regular starters. With all five goals scored in the first half, Spain finished first in Group C with nine points from three matches. The result eliminated Australia, which ended with one point.
Ecuador finished second in the group with four points after defeating Costa Rica 3-0 in Pereira. Costa Rica ended with three points and advanced as one of the four best third-place teams in each of the tournament's six groups.
Midfielder Sergi Roberto opened the scoring in the first minute, then Vazquez quickly scored his hat trick in the sixth, 13th and 19th minutes. Australia's lone goal came in the 27th from striker Kerem Bulut.
Spain playmaker Sergio Canales scored the final goal from a penalty in the 31st.
“We are very satisfied with what we have achieved,” Spain coach Julen Lopetegui said. “We were first in the group, played well and used all players in this first phase.”
Despite playing with some second-stringers, Spain dominated from the start and gave few chances to Australia, which needed a victory to advance.
Roberto scored at the Palogrande stadium in Manizales with a shot from outside the area. Vazquez scored his first goal with a left-footer from inside the box, then added his second by entering the area and dribbling past the goalkeeper before hitting an open net. His third came when he headed in a corner.
Australia pulled one back when Bulut got past a defender on the right side and cleared the goalkeeper before finding the net, but Spain increased the lead again with Canales' low, left-footed penalty after Vazquez was fouled by an Australian defender inside the area.
Lopetegui rested regular starters such as Rodrigo, Oriol Romeu, Isco and Cristian Tello. He also was also without injured starting goalkeeper Aitor. AP