- Associated Press - Monday, June 21, 2010

JOHANNESBURG | David Villa scored two goals Monday to put Spain’s World Cup back on track with a 2-0 victory over Honduras.

Villa beat three defenders in the 17th minute at Ellis Park and Honduras goalkeeper Noel Valladares got a touch on the rising shot but couldn’t keep it out. Villa scored his 40th goal in the 51st when his shot from the edge of the area deflected off a defender and went over Valladares.

The Spain striker had a chance for a hat trick but he missed a penalty in the 62nd. Spain earned the penalty when Jesus Navas was tripped up inside the right side of the area.

Spain has three points and can still win Group H with a victory over Chile, which earlier beat Switzerland 1-0 and leads with six points. Switzerland has three points and Honduras has zero.

“The result is good, we have a goal more than Chile and if we beat Chile we’re practically group winners, so we’re happy,” Villa said. “The good thing is that this result means we depend on ourselves.”

Villa single-handedly took the pressure off Spain — a favorite coming into the tournament in South Africa — with a superb individual opener that helped erase the frustrating 1-0 loss to Switzerland.

His fifth World Cup goal put him even with four Spain players as the country’s leading scorer in the competition and moved him within four goals of Raul Gonzalez’s record of 44 for the national team.

“It’s a shame,” Villa said. “I could have passed (the other four players) with a penalty but I’m still happy with this result.”

The win improved Spain’s chances of avoiding a potential matchup with Brazil in the round of 16.

Spain attacked from the start and created a handful of early chances, including a long-range shot from Villa that beat the outstretched Valladares but hit the crossbar in the seventh.

Ramos, whose ninth-minute penalty appeal was waived away, headed Joan Capdevila’s cross over at the far post in the 11th.

Spain’s defense provided goalkeeper Iker Casillas with some nervous moments soon after as the captain rushed to catch a high ball before blocking Amado Guevara’s shot just before Villa’s goal.

Navas‘ speed kept Honduras off-kilter, while Fernando Torres — uncharacteristically — missed three clear chances in the first half.

The Liverpool striker, making his first start since right knee surgery in April, headed over the bar before sending a shot high in the 33rd. He then wasted Villa’s fine pass from inside the area at the close of the half.

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