Madrid, Oct 10 (IANS) Reigning European champions Spain assured they will be able to defend their title in France next summer as they mathematically confirmed their qualification for the finals with a 4-0 win against Luxembourg.
Two goals each from Santi Cazorla and Paco Alcacer booked Spain’s ticket to France, but in truth the Spanish laboured for long periods against a side ranked 142nd in the world and it was only in the closing minutes when the result took on a more respectable look, Xinhua reported on Friday.
As expected Alvaro Morata led the Spain attack, while Marc Bartra played alongside Gerard Pique, who was booed by the fans in Logrono all night, at the heart of the Spanish defence.
Spain suffered an early setback as David Silva was forced off with an injury after suffering a heavy challenge after just eight minutes. The Spanish were in control but failed to convert possession into chances and they had another setback just after the half hour when Morata was also forced out through injury to be replaced by Paco Alcacer.
It wasn’t until the 41st minute when Santi Cazorla fired home from close range that they finally took the lead after the Luxembourg keeper had parried a shot from Pedro Rodriguez.
Spain controlled the ball in the second half as well, but it was all rather sterile until the 67th minute when Alcacer scored his fifth goal for his country in nine appearances after a through ball from Cesc Fabregas.
He added his second with 10 minutes left after a good pass from substitute Nolito saw Jordi Alba’s shot saved only for the full-back to hook the ball across the goal (although it appeared to have gone out of play) for Alcacer to score from close range.
Cazorla sealed the win with a low drive with just five minutes remaining and Spain will end their qualifying campaign in the Ukraine on Monday.