Spain Complete Unbeaten 2018 World Cup Qualifying Run with Win vs. Israel

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IOctober 9, 2017

Spain's midfielder Asier Illarramendi (L) celebrates his goal with Spain's forward Aritz Aduriz and Jose Callejon during the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup European Group G qualifying football match between Israel and Spain at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on October 9, 2017.

Spain is already qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.  / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX        (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images)
THOMAS COEX/Getty Images

Spain finished off their FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a 1-0 win over Israel at the Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on Monday.

Asier Illarramendi was the match-winner for the visitors, firing home on the half-volley, to secure the victory and ensure Spain finish their campaign unbeaten after 10 games.

With top spot in Group G already assured, Spain coach Julen Lopetegui opted to make several changes to his side, handing Las Palmas midfielder Jonathan Viera a first cap.

Marca provided the lineups for both teams:


The teams are in as @SeFutbol prepare to take on Israel! Will Spain end with a win? #WCQ https://t.co/Hg1wzlqBFt

It was also a memorable night for Sergio Busquets, who won his 100th cap for Spain, as shown by Opta:

OptaJose @OptaJose

100 - Sergio Busquets will be the 12th Spanish player to reach 100 caps 🇪🇸. Brain. https://t.co/31tLtHxSP3

Perhaps as a result of so many changes, it was a less than exciting first half with chances at a premium.

Sergio Ramos managed the first shot on target, just after the half-hour mark, but it was comfortably saved by Israel goalkeeper Ariel Harush.

Football writer Simon Harrison explained how the hosts were managing to keep Spain at bay:

Video Play Button
Videos you might like
Simon Harrison @simonhfootball

Two banks of four doing their job for Israel thus far. Spain having all of the ball, but moving it side to side. Aduriz rather isolated.

The second half started in much the same fashion, with Spain lacking in inspiration. They sent on Isco for Aritz Aduriz, searching for some way to break the deadlock.

It always looked like it would take a moment of magic to open the scoring, and so it proved on 75 minutes with Illaramendi thumping home his first international goal in some style.

Football writer Sid Lowe was certainly impressed with the Real Sociedad midfielder's goal:

Sid Lowe @sidlowe

Golazo! Illaramendi. What a belter

There was also time for another landmark moment, as Yossi Benayoun came on for the visitors to become the first man to reach 100 caps for Israel, as noted by AS:

AS English @English_AS

Tribute paid to ex-Racing, West Ham and Liverpool man Yossi Benayoun - the 1st player to reach 100 caps with Israel https://t.co/BggybSXRsd

However, the 37-year-old could not inspire an equaliser for his side, as Spain continued their formidable record in qualifying, as highlighted by Squawka:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Spain are unbeaten in World Cup qualifiers since 1993: WWWWWWDWWWWDWWWWWDWWDWWDWDWDWDDWWWDWWWWWWWWWWWWDDWWWWWDWWWWWWW Absolutely absurd. https://t.co/7TejCsAMlc

The game may not rank as one of Spain's finest performances, but it was another win and away from home with a much-changed side, which simply highlights what strength in depth La Roja possess.

Spain will head to Russia unbeaten in qualifying and as one of the tournament favourites, with manager Lopetegui yet to taste defeat since taking over, per Opta.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.