Spain vs. Georgia Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

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Spain vs. Georgia Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Spain picked up more than the point they needed to ensure their qualification to next summer's World Cup with a comfortable 2-0 win over Georgia in Albacete on Tuesday evening.

Alvaro Negredo gave them a first-half lead before Juan Mata's strike killed off the match in the second period.

Vicente del Bosque made six changes from the side that struggled to a 2-1 win over Belarus on Friday night, demonstrating the depth he has at his disposal.

Iker Casillas started in goal, with Atletico Madrid's Juanfran and Sevilla's Alberto Morenomaking his full international debutfilling the full-back positions.

Further forward Andres Iniesta returned to the side, while Manchester City duo Jesus Navas and Negredo earned starts, too.

And it was Negredo who could have helped himself to a hatful of goals in an impressive first half from the hosts.

Inside the first 10 minutes, he beat the offside trap to head painfully over when unmarked, then—minutes later—he blasted straight at Giorgi Loria when the Georgian keeper knew little of what was going on.

His next effort proved spectacular.

Teed up by Moreno on the edge of the box, the former Sevilla striker attempted a bicycle kick which drew a terrific save from Loria.

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Moments later, however, the visiting stopper had little chance as Pedro Rodriguez and Iniesta combined to set up Negredo to tap Spain into a deserved lead.

Shota Grigalashvili then forced Casillas into a save and Aleksandr Kobakhidze could only blaze over before the post denied Negredo a second before the interval.

It took the introduction of Mata to produce Spain's second of the night on the hour when, following a series of pinball in the box, the Chelsea man popped up to fire home from eight yards.

Iniesta, Mata, Navas and Negredo were then all culpable for missing chances to put La Roja three ahead in a one-sided finish to the match.

The third goal never arrived, but Spain can now start planning for Brazil next summer—the world champions are coming to the party.

 

Andres Iniesta: A

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Iniesta was replaced by Isco inside the last 10 minutes to a standing ovation from the Carlos Belmonte stadium.

That's because he helped save Albacete from going out of business recently by dipping into his own pocket.

It's also because he was quite good on the night.

In a typical wondrous performance, Iniesta controlled the game and created plenty of Spain's best opportunities—including Negredo's opener.

 

Alvaro Negredo: B

Scored one, should have scored three and nearly produced the goal of the night—is Alvaro Negredo about to emerge as Spain's No. 9?

Maybe only a late challenge from Diego Costa can take the shirt from his back now.

On Tuesday the Man City forward looked at ease in the La Roja lineup, something which hasn't always been the case in his previous outings.

He took his goal well but will definitely feel disappointed not to have scored more than once.

Spain ratings
Player Position Grade
Iker Casillas GK B-
Juanfran DR C
Sergio Ramos DC B
Gerard Pique DC C
Alberto Moreno DL B
Sergio Busquets MC B
Xavi Hernandez MC B-
Andres Iniesta MC A
Pedro Rodriguez FW C
Alvaro Negredo FW B+
Jesus Navas FW B+
Substitutes Position Grade
Juan Mata FW B+
Koke MF C
Isco MF n/a

B/R

Georgia ratings
Player Position Grade
Giorgi Loria GK B+
Ucha Lobzhanidze DR C
Guram Kashia DC B
Giorgi Khidesheli DC B-
Akaki Khubutia DC C-
Dato Kvirkvelia DL C
Shota Grigalashvili MR B
Aleksandr Kobakhidze MC B-
Elguja Grigalashvili MC C-
Irakli Dzaria ML C-
Nikoloz Gelashvili FW C
Substitutes Position Grade
Irakli Modebadze FW n/a
Avto MF C-
Levan Khmaladze MF n/a

B/R

Samuel Marsden is a freelance sports journalist based in Barcelona. You can follow his updates on Twitter:


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