Spain clinches World Cup spot with win against Albania
MADRID, Spain (AP):
Spain easily defeated Albania 3-0 to secure a World Cup berth as outspoken defender Gerard Pique received a mixed reaction from home fans every time he touched the ball yesterday.
Rodrigo, Isco, and Thiago Alcantara scored first-half goals to give Spain an insurmountable five-point lead over Italy with one round to go in Group G of European qualifying.
Italy's chance of winning the group ended with in a 1-1 draw against Macedonia in Turin, a result that secured second place for the Italians.
Israel won at Liechtenstein 1-0 in the other group match.
Spain will be making its 11th consecutive World Cup appearance.
"It was a complicated week, but we were able to come out only focused on football," Spain coach Julen Lopetegui said. "We did our part, and with the Italy result, it ended up being enough."