Spain clinch World Cup spot with slick win over Albania

Spain clinch World Cup spot with slick win over Albania

Spain clinch World Cup spot with slick win over Albania

Barcelona's Gerrard Pique received a mixed response in the stadium as he made his 92nd global appearance just after casting his vote in a referendum on Catalan independence, which was deemed illegal by the Spanish govt. Pique is being supported by his side, but has been on the receiving end of boos throughout the week.

Spain chief coach Julen Lopetegui will have to make changes in his side as they prepare for a game which will seal their ticket to the 2018 football World Cup in Russian Federation should they win.

Barcelona's Pique was jeered by Spain fans.

Yet, both are now over 30 and with central defence the one area where Spain aren't blessed with strength in depth, keeping Pique and Ramos on good terms is vital to any chance of World Cup glory.

Giorgio Chiellini put Italy ahead five minutes before half-time at the matchday 9 game played in Turin on Friday night.

Eitan Tibi scored the game's only goal on 21 minutes.

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Also in Group G, Liechtenstein lost 1-0 at home to Israel.

Austria hit back with goals from Guido Burgstaller and Marko Arnautovic before Nemanja Matic equalised for Serbia with seven minutes left.

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.

Pique is just one of a number of Catalans who have played a huge part in Spain's most successful ever era at worldwide level as La Roja won the 2010 World Cup and 2008 and 2012 European Championships.

Croatia's hopes were dented after they conceded a 90th-minute equaliser in a 1-1 home draw with Finland. We beat them 2-0 previous year but we played a great game and it was challenging.

An own goal from Leart Paqarada on the hour set Ukraine on their way before Andriy Yarmolenko sealed their win. A cornerstone of the midfield, the Canary Islander orchestrates the play, can beat his marker and has contributed five goals in Russian Federation 2018 qualifying.

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