Del Bosque didn't realise it was Villa's last match

There couldn't have been a more fitting way for David Villa to crown his goodbye with the Spanish national team than by seeing his name listed among the scorers - even if coach Vicente del Bosque didn't realise it was to be his farewell.

Sam Marsden

El Guaje opened the scoring in the first half, deftly flicking the ball beyond Australian goalkeeper Matthew Ryan as Spain ended their participation in this summer's World Cup with a 3-0 win over the Socceroos.

However, with the game approaching the hour mark, Del Bosque decided to remove Villa and replace him with Manchester United's Juan Mata.

The former Barcelona striker was clearly devastated that his international career was being ended sooner than he'd anticipated, although his manager was left to look a little silly as he pleaded ignorance after the match.

"He certainly seemed very annoyed," Del Bosque admitted. "He said it was his last game, but I didn't know that. I'm sure he was upset. All I was thinking about is that it was time to kill off the game and we did that."

Villa calls time on his playing career with Spain having scored 59 goals during his 97 appearances. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina talked of the "void" Villa will leave, "especially on a human level."

America and Major League Soccer is next up for Villa after he agreed to become new franchise New York City's first ever player. And that was behind his thinking when it came to ending his involvement with Spain.

"I have always said to you how much I love playing la Seleccion for as long as I can remember," he said after his final ever cap.

"I have always dreamed of playing until I am 55, but I know that is not possible. You just can't do that! Now the World Cup ends, I have taken the decision to go to the MLS and for that reason I will not be playing football for a few months.

"For me, I would play for my whole life, but it is normal that it ends here. After these six months, we'll see, but we have to be realistic."

Villa will carry happy memories from his time with Spain with him.

He signs out the country's record goal scorer and having won two European Championships and one World Cup.


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