Iceland One Step Closer to Qualifying for World Cup

08 October, 2017, 01:17 | Author: Rita Burton
  • Gerard Pique

Goals from Moreno Rodrigo, Isco and Thiago Alcantara in the first half were enough for the Spain to qualify from the group having gained 25 points after matchday-nine. "It has not been an easy week - we must focus on Albania", Ramos told the media.

The 2010 tournament winners are three points clear of Italy at the top of Group G and the victory saw them progress to the finals.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is at the centre of the controversy due to his comments on Sunday about the right of Catalans to vote in an independence referendum that had been declared illegal by the Spanish government, and he was again booed by fans at training in Alicante.

"As a Spaniard, I don't like what's happening, but let's hope it all gets resolved quickly and we can get back to living in a free democracy and enjoying sports, which is what makes us all happy".

Much of the talk coming into the match was about Pique and last weekend's events in Catalonia, and Lopetegui hailed the fans who cheered the Barca man upon coming off in the 60th minute.

Spain won 2-0 in Albania earlier in the campaign and are priced at 5/1 to repeat that scoreline on home soil.

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After not being afraid to air his views on the Catalonia Independence Referendum, Gerard Pique endured a rough ride as Spain qualified for the 2018 World Cup Finals, in Russian Federation. The second half I haven't liked so much.

"Tomorrow they will have a day off, but we need to then go to Israel to play and compete".

Lopetegui was adamant the suspensions were not planned.

The former Italy worldwide said: "Spain are one of the favourites to win the World Cup because they have experienced players".

But, given the disparity in quality between the two teams, Spain's vastly superior goal difference and head-to-head advantage over Italy, the spotlight was always likely to be on Barcelona defender Pique.

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