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Spain clinch World Cup spot with slick win over Albania

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Spain clinch World Cup spot with slick win over Albania

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By Richard Martin (Reuters) – Spain sealed their place in the 2018 World Cup as Group G winners after storming to a 3-0 win over Albania on Friday with a ruthless first half display, while nearest challengers Italy were held to a draw by Macedonia. Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno marked his first international start by opening the scoring in the 16th minute, chesting down an outrageously stylish pass from Isco to swivel and fire into the top corner. Real Madrid midfielder Isco then shot high into the net in the 23rd to complete an equally impressive move of short floor passes between David Silva and Koke, while Thiago Alcantara scored the third three minutes later with a thumping header from a pinpoint cross from debutant Alvaro Odriozola. The only downside for Spain was a shaky performance from Gerard Pique, who was booed by large sections of the Alicante crowd every time he touched the ball following his support for last Sunday’s referendum on Catalan independence and was substituted by Lopetegui after an hour was up.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Rex Gowar)
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