Spain beat Georgia 2-0 to secure World Cup berth

Reuters , Tuesday 15 Oct 2013

Holders Spain duly booked their place at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil when Alvaro Negredo and substitute Juan Mata struck in a comfortable 2-0 home win over Georgia on Tuesday

Spain's Alvaro Negredo celebrates his goal with his teammate Andres Iniesta during their 2014 World Cup qualifying soccer match against Georgia at Carlos Belmonte stadium in Albacete. (Photo:Reuters)
The victory in Albacete meant the world and European champions finished top of qualification Group I on 20 points from eight matches, three ahead of France, who beat Finland 3-0 in Paris and go into the playoffs.
Negredo, who scored Spain's second in Friday's 2-1 win over Belarus, clipped a volleyed Andres Iniesta center into the net to put Spain ahead in the 26th minute.
The Manchester City forward scuffed a shot against the post five minutes before halftime before Mata, who had replaced Pedro moments earlier, pounced on a loose ball and cracked home from close range in the 61st.
Spain completely dominated the Georgians, who finished fourth in the five-nation group, a point ahead of Belarus, even as coach Vicente Del Bosque left a number of key players including Cesc Fabregas and David Silva on the bench.
Del Bosque had indicated after Friday's labored performance against Belarus that Spain needed more width and he made a number of changes to his starting formation.
Negredo started in a central attacking role instead of Michu and his pacy City team mate Jesus Navas was deployed on the right wing with Pedro on the left.
In defense, left back Alberto Moreno earned his first cap in place of Nacho Monreal and Juanfran was preferred to Alvaro Arbeloa on the right, while captain Iker Casillas reclaimed the keeper's slot from Victor Valdes.
Negredo had looked dangerous before he put Spain ahead and he forced a fine save from Georgia keeper Roin Kvaskhvadze with an acrobatic overhead kick in the 20th minute.
The visitors were hoping to catch Spain on the break and the tactic almost paid off moments after Negredo's opener when Nicholas Gelashvili raced free on the right and tested Casillas with an angled shot.
The home side could have added to their tally several times in the closing stages, with Negredo, Navas and Iniesta, who was playing at his home stadium and given a rapturous reception by the fans, all going close.
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