UPDATE 1-Soccer-Alonso double helps Spain ease past Denmark

Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:31pm BST

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By Kim McLaughlin

COPENHAGEN Aug 20 (Reuters) - Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso scored twice to steer European champions Spain to a 3-0 win over Denmark in a friendly on Wednesday.

The visitors started hesitantly in their first game under new coach Vicente del Bosque, who replaced Luis Aragones after the team's Euro 2008 triumph in Vienna in June.

Spain, however, came out with more confidence in the second half and Alonso put them in front after 50 minutes when he pounced on a pass from Liverpool team mate Fernando Torres.

Debutant Diego Capel caused several problems for Denmark down the left and the 20-year-old winger crossed for Barcelona's Xavi to notch the second goal in the 73rd minute.

Alonso completed the scoring in injury time when he deftly converted another centre by Capel.

POOR START

"We made a poor start, playing slowly and lacking aggression," Del Bosque told reporters. "It got much better after the break.

"We were superior in the second half. When you win 3-0 away it's an expression of the confidence we bring with us from the European Championship."

Denmark coach Morten Olsen said Spain's quick passing tired his team out.

"We used most of our stamina in the first 45 minutes and ran out of steam, we have to admit that," said Olsen.

"We got over run in the second half because they simply play so fast."

A minute's silence was held before the match and the players wore black armbands during the game after a plane crashed in Madrid on Wednesday, killing about 145 people.

Spain face Bosnia and Armenia in World Cup Group Five qualifiers next month while Denmark take on Hungary and Portugal in Group One.

(Editing by Tony Jimenez)