Goals from Alvaro Negredo and Juan Mata gave Spain a 2-0 win over Georgia which ensured they qualified for the 2014 World Cup.
Vicente Del Bosque recalled Iker Casillas to the starting XI for their vital qualifier in Albacete. La Roja went into the game knowing that just a point would see them go to Brazil next summer, and they do so with the Real Madrid between the posts, whilst Sevilla’s Alberto Moreno was given his debut for the senior team.
But it was one of the more experienced members of the squad who had the first real opportunity for the home team. After just four minutes, Jesus Navas shimmied past three defenders before firing a cross/shot across goal – but the effort just skimmed wide of the far post.
Temuri Ketsbaia’s men were clear in their gameplan, and sat 11 men behind the ball at almost all times in the opening exchanges. The hosts kept creating chances though, but Pedro, Negredo and Navas again, all found Roin Kvaskhvadze in their way.
But on 25 minutes, the deadlock was finally broken when Negredo finished off a beautiful team move, flicking in Andres Iniesta’s cross.
The Manchester City man should have made it two late on in the half however, only to see his strike cannon off the post when it looked easier to score.
After the break, the home team continued their dominance of possession and shots at goal, but failed to make that breakthrough that would see them comfortably make it to the World Cup.
However, with an hour gone, La Roja could breathe a sigh of relief as Mata, who came on just a few moments earlier, volleyed home from a Xavi corner with just his second touch of the match to make it 2-0.
Del Bosque weren’t at their sparkling best, but it was a job well done as they qualified for Brazil next summer..
Spain 2-0 Georgia
Scorers: Negredo 25 (S), Mata 61 (S)
Spain: Casillas; Juanfran, Piqué, Ramos, Alberto Moreno; Busquets, Xavi (Koke 63), Iniesta (Isco 82), Pedro (Mata 57), Navas, Negredo
Georgia: Kvaskhvadze, Lobjanidze, Grigalava (Khmaladze 75), Kashia, Amisulashvili, Khubutia, Kankava, Kobakhidze, Gelashvili, Ananidze, Okriashvili