Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World Cup Qualifiers

Spain Book Ticket To Russia With 3-0 Win Over Albania

Spain team applaud at the end of the World Cup 2018 qualifier football match Spain vs Albania at the Jose Rico Perez stadium in Alicante on October 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JOSE JORDAN (Photo credit should read JOSE JORDAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Spain easily defeated Albania 3-0 to secure a World Cup berth as outspoken defender Gerard Pique received a mixed reaction from home fans every time he touched the ball on Friday.

Rodrigo, Isco, and Thiago Alcantara scored first-half goals to give Spain an insurmountable five-point lead over Italy with one round to go in Group G of European qualifying.

Embed from Getty Images


Italy’s chance of winning the group ended with in a 1-1 draw against Macedonia in Turin, a result that secured second place for the Italians.

Israel won at Liechtenstein 1-0 in the other group match.

Spain will be making their 11th consecutive World Cup appearance.

“It was a complicated week but we were able to come out only focused on football,” Spain coach Julen Lopetegui said. “We did our part and with the Italy result it ended up being enough.”

Embed from Getty Images


Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

As expected, many of the nearly 30,000 fans in the crowd in the southeastern city of Alicante booed Pique almost every time he touched the ball. But many applauded the outspoken Barcelona defender, and he even got a standing ovation by some when he was substituted early in the second half.

He also applauded the fans as he left the field, and later part of the crowd chanted his name while he sat in the stands.

Pique has been criticized by Spanish fans for being openly critical of the Spanish government’s handling of the independence referendum organized by Catalonia on Sunday, when authorities and voters confronted each other in violent clashes.

Pique, who has long defended the Catalans, was harassed by fans at Spain’s training camp in Madrid on Monday, with many calling him to leave the national team. He pledged his commitment to Spain’s squad a few days later, and said he hoped Alicante fans would not jeer him because of his stance on the Catalonia issue. He is often booed when Spain plays outside of Catalonia.

“Pique was calm throughout the match,” Rodrigo said. “Everybody respects each other here, and he is a very important player for this national team.”

Embed from Getty Images


Pique will not play on Monday in Israel because of a yellow card suspension.

Spain was in control from the start in Alicante, with Rodrigo opening the scoring in the 16th minute with a left-footed shot from inside the area after a well-placed pass by Isco. Rodrigo controlled the ball with his chest before finding the top corner with a half-volley for his first international goal.

Isco added to the lead four minutes later with a shot into the top of the net for his fifth goal in seven qualifiers, and Thiago Alcantara closed the scoring 10 minutes later with a driving header after a right cross by Alvaro Odriozola, who was making his debut at right back.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Spain was without Andres Iniesta, Dani Carvajal, and Alvaro Morata because of injuries.

Keep it here on The Stoppage Time, powered by Azteca Soccer, for all of your soccer news. Follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


More Footy You May Also Like


A debate stirred up while Mexico played it’s March exhibitions against Chile and Paraguay.  Should Diego Lainez go to the Gold Cup or the U20...

Ligue 1

Kylian Mbappe, the Prince of Paris, the human Donatello, is a humble man, a simple man, an honest man, a young man, and a...


My initial journey I had my doubts as to whether I would have my Copa América Centenario media credentials approved or not, mostly due...

World Cup

Igor Akinfeev was the hero as Russia shook the football world by defeating Spain 4-3 on penalties. The CSKA Moscow shotstopper kept out penalties...

World Cup

Thursday night saw England finish second in Group G after losing 1-0 to group winners Belgium. I take a look at what this means...

World Cup

Wednesday 27th witnessed Germany crashing out of the World Cup in Russia, totally unexpected for many. Has Germany’s premature exit really come at such...

World Cup

Iago Aspas scored a stoppage-time equaliser – with the aid of VAR – as Spain scraped an unconvincing draw with Morocco to top Group...