Morientes was a reliable performer for his national team since 1998. He scored a brace in the first five minutes of his debut against Sweden on 25 March, adding a further two in each of his next two games, against Northern Ireland and Bulgaria respectively; he ranks fourth on the Spanish all-time topscorer's list with 27 goals in 47 appearances, behind former Real Madrid teammate Raúl, former Valencia teammate Villa and former Madrid captain Fernando Hierro (who took the majority of Spain's free kicks and penalties), although his goals-to-games ratio is higher than Raúl and Hierro.
Morientes netted five goals in the two FIFA World Cups he featured in, with two goals in 1998 and three in 2002. In the latter edition Morientes and Raúl played together up front, and both showed impressive form in the tournament; during the knock-out round match against South Korea the former scored a goal in extra-time that was disallowed, although replays suggested the goal was legitimate – Spain eventually lost the match on penalties.
Morientes was a surprise omission at UEFA Euro 2000, but played at Euro 2004 in Portugal, where he scored one of only two goals that Spain could manage, in a subsequent group stage exit. He also played for the nation during the 2006 World Cup qualifiers; however, due to his poor club form for Liverpool, he was not chosen by national team coach Luis Aragonés in the final squad for the tournament, although he was part of an initial 31-man list.
Following his return to form after moving to Valencia, Morientes was recalled to the national side. He scored his 27th goal for Spain in a Euro 2008 qualifier against Denmark on 24 March 2007; injured four days later against Iceland in another qualifying contest, he was not recalled again.
Read more about this topic: Fernando Morientes
Famous quotes containing the word career:
“He was at a starting point which makes many a mans career a fine subject for betting, if there were any gentlemen given to that amusement who could appreciate the complicated probabilities of an arduous purpose, with all the possible thwartings and furtherings of circumstance, all the niceties of inward balance, by which a man swings and makes his point or else is carried headlong.”
—George Eliot [Mary Ann (or Marian)