The night started remembering the great Quini and ended with a flurry of goals – which was exactly what the occasion needed. From start to finish, the match was always heading in one direction – a constant barrage by Spain on an area fiercely protected by a line of five players and another line of four. That made for an uncomfortable game – and one which lacked emotion because we had taken it for granted that we’d won even before kick-off – in the same way we presumed we would qualify from the group stage almost as soon as the draw had taken place. Spain completed the task in hand with aplomb and the two strikers, Rodrigo and Paco Alcácer, ended as winners on the night with two goals each against the excellent Gunnar Nielsen, the Faroe Islands’ best player. In the end it was a fitting tribute to Quini.
A boost for Spain's strikers
Putting a few goals away always comes in handy for strikers and more so in this case. It’s been an apprehensive few weeks for Rodrigo who spent the latter part of the summer thinking he’d be joining Atleti only for the transfer to fall through at the last minute. The whole episode has left him in a tricky position with Valencia fans but his two goals last night will put his mind at rest. As for Alcácer, he has been battling to carve out a regular place in a position which might have already been his were it not for his nondescript spell at Barcelona, where he lost a little of his sparkle. It was a bad decision to join Barça, because he went there as a back-up and in general, substitutes don’t make prolific goal scorers. Now he’s scoring freely at Borussia Dortmund and with Spain and that raises the stakes in the competition for a place in which Morata, Costa, and Aspas are also looking to make their own...
Spain top their group; Ramos equals Casillas
To summarise, the game left us with four goals and Spain consolidating their position at the top of Group F with six wins from six - 18 points, seven ahead of Sweden and eight ahead of Romania. Spain have clearly all but qualified, and the next game (against Norway) will serve to see Sergio Ramos overtake Iker Casillas’s appearances record (they are currently both tied on 167 games) to become our most capped international in history. That’s quite a feat for a player who has never been short on enthusiasm, and who physically and technically is faultless. Perhaps his one defect is that sometimes he can be a little too bold and take unnecessary risks. But his qualities compensate for that.