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Spain, with new faces, ease past Georgia in World Cup qualifier


Luis Enrique said after the defeat in Sweden that he was pleased with his team, but when it came to deciding who would start against Georgia, he gave the pack a good shuffle. And it seems that he found good reasons for doing so. I liked the XI that took to the field, especially having Llorente and Carlos Soler in the middle, as both of them are very active and can contribute with goals. Their focus is on scoring, whether aiding others or doing it themselves, their trade is to get free and into the box. With this pair of midfielders our national team's game is redefined with a more offensive outlook. They play faster, they strive for more goals and they have two more finishers coming from deep.

New faces on, and Spanish smiles off

I’m also a fan of Sarabia, for what he does on the wing and for his finishing. The same goes for Ferran, who played once again, this time on the right. The focal point of the attack was left to Abel Ruiz, the biggest surprise of all. He had to do the hard part, moving in and around the tight spaces left by Georgia, who waited, extremely compact with two lines of four. Spain began really well, especially from the flanks, and also scored early, thanks to a little bit of luck, from a shot by Gayà (another new face of the day) from a corner. That goal was followed by two more before the break, including a fourth that was ruled out for offside. The Badajoz crowd had good reasons to be enjoying themselves.

Pablo Sarabia celebrates with Abel Ruiz after scoring their team's fourth goal against Georgia.
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Pablo Sarabia celebrates with Abel Ruiz after scoring their team's fourth goal against Georgia.David RamosGetty Images

Concerns remain for Spain rearguard

After the restart Georgia changed, and that's when I felt a little worried. Not because of the result, that was insurmountable, but because every attack gave a sense of danger. Unai almost gave away a goal and then made an outstanding save. The worrying thing I refer to was that the advances called him into action rather than being dealt with ahead of him. Spain scored their fourth with a superb counter and the match came to a close with numerous substations, allowing rests for some and opportunities for others. That included a debut for Robert Sánchez, 'the Panther of Cartagena', son of an English father and Spanish mother. Yet another new face. With that and a fifth disallowed goal, Spain passed this test with flying colours. We improved our goal difference. And now it's on to Kosovo.