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ISRAEL 0 - 1 SPAIN

Israel 1 - 0 Spain: match report, result, how it happened


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Update:
Spain's midfielder Asier Illarramendi celebrates his goal with teammates Aritz Aduriz and Jose Callejon during the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup European Group G qualifying match against Israel.
THOMAS COEXAFP

A stunning half-volley for Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi secured a ninth win in their 10 qualifying games and ensured that La Roja remain unbeaten on their Road to Russia 2018 as Israel signed off their campaign.

Spanish changes galore for dead rubber

In a game that saw the Spanish manager, Julen Lopetegui, make nine changes from the side that strolled to a 3-0 win over Albania on Friday evening, it was far from a classic match. There was little of the swashbuckling flair that we have seen plenty of over the qualifying phase. That said, possession for the visitors was an unsuprising 65% and the goal that clinched the contest was a thing of beauty.

With Real Madrid's Marco Asensio on the pitch, fans may have expected a powerful, swerving half volley to come from his boot, but the strike from midfielder Illarramendi was a great way for him to mark his first international goal. The former Madrid player, who returned to La Real after a disappointing spell, appeared on the edge of the area after a Spain corner had been cleared and drove the ball high into the net with the outside of his boot, breaking the deadlock in the 76th minute.

Spain's forward Iago Aspas goes airborne in his efforts for his country.
Full screen
Spain's forward Iago Aspas goes airborne in his efforts for his country.JACK GUEZAFP

Russia 2018 reached with Spanish ease

Spain had already sealed their place in Russia as group winners and their only motivation was to keep up their slim chances of being seeded in December's World Cup draw, with the former world champions 11th in last month's world rankings.

Israel had long been out of contention for a playoff place.

The two players that kept their places in the side were captain Sergio Ramos and, most notably, Barcelona's Sergio Busquets, who made his 100th appearance for Spain.

Israel v Spain: how it happened live

Israel v Spain: preview 

After sealing automatic qualification on Friday with a routine 3-0 victory over Albania, Spain’s focus now switches to the FIFA rankings. As we sail down the final straight of qualifiers, the 2018 World Cup is starting to take shape, with 12 of the 32 teams that will line up in Russia already confirmed. Other European big hitters such as Germany, England, Belgium have qualified with a game to spare, and will be joined by Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria, Japan, South Korea and host nation Russia. Uruguay are also a mathematical certainty, despite not running over the line just yet.

Therefore, the goal for Spain in their trip to Jerusalem is to ensure they are one of the eight teams – Russia are automatically one – to be seeded next year. Lopetegui’s side need to beat Israel to ensure they have 1,218 points before playing the waiting game to see how the other nations fare, particularly given that La Roja’s points total could be exceeded by Argentina, Portugal, Peru, Poland, Switzerland, Chile, Wales and France. Brazil and Germany are already the top seeds. Belgium, meanwhile, will need to beat Cyprus on Tuesday to ensure their seeding.

Spain latest news

Julen Lopetegui is almost certain to send out a much-changed eleven at the Itztadion Teddy, particularly in the absence of the suspended Piqué and David Silva, and the injured Thiago. Arrizabalaga could get the nod in goal after forming part of the qualifying squad but never being handed a starting berth. In defence, Ramos could be given a rest, with Nacho and Bartra assuming the mantle. Busquets will return to the starting line-up after missing the Albania game through suspension, as will Asensio. Odriozola is likely to be given another run-out after his performance against Albania was widely praised. The Real Sociedad defender’s one-year rise from Segunda B to the national side is an impressive one. “I’m living a dream”, he said after Friday’s win, and another fearless performance from the 21-year-old will turn heads at Real Madrid even more.

Israel latest news

Despite grabbing a 1-0 win away to Liechtenstein on Friday, courtesy of an Eytan Tibi goal, Elisha Levy’s side currently sit fourth in Group G, behind Albania, and can finish no higher than third in the group, outside the qualification places. The form books for this game don’t bode well, either: they have lost three of their last four competitive home fixtures. With Spain sniffing blood and next year’s tournament rankings in their nostrils, it could be damage limitation for a side that was soundly beaten 4-1 when the teams last met in March. On that occasion, Lior Refaelov did manage to beat David de Gea, but only after David Silva, Vitolo and Diego Costa had put the game beyond reach, before Isco popped the cherry on the cake in the 88th minute.

Israel v Spain live stream online: betting odds

The big Teddy Stadium pay-out tonight involves backing a Spain lead at the break with the home side to launch a comeback and claim all three points. A 67/1 price awaits:

Bet on Israel v Spain

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