Spain qualify for World Cup!

Spain have qualified for the 2018 World Cup after they defeated Albania 3-0 on Friday and Italy drew with FYR Macedonia.

Three goals inside 27 minutes did the job for Spain, who moved five points clear of Italy – at the top of Group G – with just one match left to play.

Gerard Pique started just a week after he declared his support for the Catalan referendum, while Real Sociedad right-back Alvaro Odriozola and Valencia striker Rodrigo Moreno were given their full Spain debuts.

La Roja would have all-but-booked their place in Russia next summer with victory over Albania, who still had an unlikely chance of qualifying for the playoffs at the Azzurri's expense.

Rodrigo almost met a cross from the right in the penalty area, but he bounced his free header wide from a couple of yards out.

Nonetheless, he quickly made amends with a ‘golazo’, volleying across Etrit Berisha from a tight angle for his first international goal.

Isco then made it 2-0, when he received a through ball in Albania’s area, before firing into the roof of Berisha’s net from a few yards out.

Just three minutes later, Thiago Alcantara pulled to the near post and nodded the ball past Berisha for La Roja’s third goal.

Yet things could’ve been different, had Ergys Kace’s header not clipped the crossbar and Eros Grezda profitted from a Pique misjudgment.

The defender was jeered and cheered in Alicante until his substitution in the second half, when Berisha kept out Koke’s free header and used his legs to deny the rebound.

Silva then played a deft through ball for Rodrigo, but the Lazio shot-stopper got down low to keep out the striker’s close-range finish.

Substitute Armando Sadiku almost pegged Albania back, but his header bounced off the woodwork and then forced David de Gea into pushing away his volley from close range.

Saul Niguez had a free shot at goal in Albania’s D to round off the win, but he bent his effort wide of the target.

Spain 3-0 Albania

Rodrigo 16, Isco 23, Thiago 26

Spain: De Gea; Odriozola, Pique (Nacho 60), Ramos, Alba; Koke, Saul, Thiago; Silva (Asensio 74), Rodrigo (Aduriz 82), Isco

Albania: Berisha; Hysaj, Veseli, Ajeti, Memolla (Agolli 46); Balliu (Sadiku 46), Kace, Memushaj; Xhaka, Llullaku, Grezda (Latifi 66)

Referee: Eskov (RUS)

Tags 2018 World Cup Albania Spain