FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifiers: Spain defeats Italy to move closer to World Cup

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Spain ended Italy’s 11-year unbeaten run in qualifiers with a 3-0 win on Saturday and moved closer to securing a World Cup spot.

The Italians hadn’t lost a qualifier — World Cup or European Championship — in 56 games, since September 2006.

Two first-half strikes by Francisco “Isco” Alarcon and a late goal by substitute Alvaro Morata gave the hosts the important Group G victory.

Isco got the better of Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon from a free kick early in the game, then outsmarted the Italian defense with a low shot just before halftime at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

The result left Spain in control of Group G with 19 points, three more than Italy, with three games left in European qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Albania is third with 12 points.

Only the group winner automatically qualifies.

Spain’s last loss in World Cup qualifying was in November 1993. It’s unbeaten run now stands at 60 matches.

 

Source: Sports News agencies