European champions Spain booked their place in the FIFA Confederations Cup semi-finals with a 1-0 victory over Iraq – a world-record equalling 14th consecutive international win – in Bloemfontein.
Spain's success stretched their unbeaten run to 34 matches – one shy of the international record held by Brazil – and came courtesy of David Villa's second-half header.
The goal took Villa's haul to five in a week after his hat-trick against Azerbaijan in a friendly warm-up last week and his strike against New Zealand on Sunday.
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque made four changes to his starting line-up from the 5-0 triumph over the All Whites in their opening game. The performance was also in contrast to that Sunday stroll, with Del Bosque's team unable to create clear-cut chances against a defensive Iraq side in the opening 45 minutes.
They eventually made the breakthrough ten minutes after the interval when Villa rose unmarked to nod in Joan Capdevila's cross and secure Spain's passage from Group A.
The day's other game ended with South Africa beating New Zealand 2-0, with Bernard Parker on target twice in Rustenburg.
A draw against Spain on Saturday will be enough to see the hosts reach the semi-finals. Iraq will need to beat the already-eliminated New Zealand to have any chance of qualification.
On Thursday its Matchday 2 in Group B with world champions Italy and holders Brazil looking to secure last four spots with wins over Egypt and USA respectively.
[FIFA Confederations Cup 2009]