Thursday, 23 November, 2017

Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara sustains ankle injury with Spain

Pique focused on Albania task Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara sustains ankle injury with Spain
Bennie Garza | 10 October, 2017, 17:04

Spain, with one more match left to play (against Israel), are the 11th team to secure their spot in the World Cup and the 5th from UEFA.

Spain sealed its place in the 2018 World Cup as Group G victor after storming to a 3-0 win over Albania on Friday with a ruthless first half display, while nearest challenger Italy was held to a 1-1 draw by Macedonia.

The other six teams to ensure they'll be in the World Cup are Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea from Asia, Mexico from the North American qualifiers and Brazil from the South American group.

Valencia forward Rodrigo Moreno marked his first global 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.

Albania actually hit the crossbar through a Llullaku header in the 25th minute, but the visitors were 3-0 behind moments later when Thiago Alcantara rose highest inside the penalty area to head a floated Odriozola cross into the back of the net.

Barcelona's Pique was jeered by Spain fans.

Pique has since found support from within the national team, but has also been the subject of boos from irate Spain fans throughout the week.

The Barcelona defender was substituted by Lopetegui after an hour was up.

Renewal A period of transition ensued in the wake of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and Lopetegui has now overseen its completion.

Giorgio Chielleni scored in the 40th minute to give Italy the advantage, but equations changed in the second half, with Aleksandar Trajkovski equalising in the 77th minute. En route to Russian Federation they have scored 35 goals in nine games, conceding just three.

Serbia missed a chance to clinch their World Cup place when they suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to already-eliminated Austria, their first loss of the campaign.

Serbia got off to the flawless start when Luka Milivojevic gave them an 11th minute lead.

The centre-back received the same treatment from his first touch at Estadio Jose Rico Perez, but was later brought off predominantly to applause in the second half. Their 3-0 victory in Turkey saw them leap to the top of the group above Croatia who could only draw 1-1 with Finland.

The coach's decision is partly motivated by the fact that Spain have already qualified for Russian Federation 2018, and also due to the limited recovery time the players have had following their victory over Albania on Friday.

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