Spain vs. Georgia Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
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.
Spain: 20 points, 6 wins, 2 draws, 0 losses in the WC Qualifying.— Espcore (@espcore) October 15, 2013
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.
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.
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.
FT Spain 2-0 Georgia. Never really in doubt I guess... Better performance tonight w/ 2 wingers, 2 attacking full-backs & proper number 9.— Dermot Corrigan (@dermotmcorrigan) October 15, 2013
La Roja make it to Brazil Spain 2 – Georgia 0 (All Goals) http://t.co/EJjMK63h4g— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) October 15, 2013
Spain have now gone 52 home World Cup qualifiers without defeat. (Via @2010MisterChip) Unsurprisingly that's a world record.— Phil Kitromilides (@PhilKitro) October 15, 2013
Andres Iniesta: A
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.
Samuel Marsden is a freelance sports journalist based in Barcelona. You can follow his updates on Twitter:
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?