Spain to defend Euro crown

Spain have qualified for Euro 2016 as goals from Santi Cazorla and Paco Alcacer earned the European champions a 4-0 victory over Luxembourg on Friday.

Vicente del Bosque made seven changes the team who beat Macedonia 1-0 last month, with Iker Casillas returning in goal, Juanfran and Jordi Alba back in the full-back positions, Cesc Fabregas in central midfield and Pedro Rodriguez and Morata up top as part of a trident attack.

In fact, the closest to a 'new' addition came in the form of Marc Bartra's inclusion alongside Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique in the heart of defence.

Spain dominated the first half in Logrones, clearly aware that a win would book their place in next summer's European Championship, with Stefano Bensi firing the minnows' only attempt at Casillas.

However, their efforts were cruelly sidelined by two potential injuries, the first of which saw  David Silva leave the pitch with a suspected ankle complaint early doors, before Alvaro Morata departed on a stretcher with a calf problem.

Nonetheless, Spain did not lose any focus and continued to rain shots at Sebastien Joubert's goal, and they were eventually rewarded for their resolve as Cazorla mopped up Pedro's rebound shortly before the interval.

The second half felt like a training match at times, with Spain’s resounding grip on matters far too much for Luxembourg’s counterattacking threat, but Alcacer provided some welcome respite just after the hour mark, when he latched onto Fabregas’ through ball and buried a finish beyond Joubert.

Alcacer then grabbed his second of the evening – and fifth in seven Spain caps – as Alba’s touch squirmed through the shot-stopper’s arms, gifting the striker the opportunity to slam the ball into an empty net.

Cazorla then finished off the rout with only five minutes remaining, the Arsenal midfielder receiving the ball just outside the visitors’ box and proceeding to smash a shot low and hard into the bottom-left corner.

Along with qualifying for Euro 2016, Spain will have also been delighted with Nolito’s impact, the Celta Vigo hotshot playing his part in La Roja’s final two goals, although boos for Gerard Pique were heard once more.

Spain 4-0 Luxembourg

Cazorla 42, 85, Alcacer 67, 80

Spain: Casillas; Juanfran, Pique, Bartra, Alba; Busquets, Cesc, Cazorla; Silva (Mata 10), Morata (Alcacer 33), Pedro (Nolito 77)

Luxembourg: Joubert; Delgado, Malget, Chanot, Gerson, Jans; Bensi (Deville 64), Mutsch, Payal, Martins (Da Mota 74); Joachim (Turpel 90)

Referee: Delferiere [BEL]

Tags Euro 2016 Luxembourg Spain
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