Spain and the other national sides with a direct route to Russian Federation

Posted October 08, 2017

La Roja sealed their spot as Group G winners with Friday's 3-0 win over Albania, Thiago netting the third to cap a devastating opening 26 minutes in Alicante.

The midfielder backed Pique a day later, but said it was inevitable his team mate would face the wrath of some supporters against Albania.

With nearest rivals Italy only able to draw at home to Macedonia, Spain assured first place in Group G after brushing aside Albania 3-0 in the penultimate round of matches.

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Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was greeted with a mixture of jeers and applause on his 92nd worldwide appearance just days after voting in a referendum on Catalan independence deemed illegal by the Spanish government and blighted by police violence. We ask for there to be a good atmosphere and for the fans to enjoy the game.

As it stands, Spain alongside Germany, England, Brazil, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and hosts Russian Federation are guaranteed to be at the FIFA World Cup finals next summer.

Spain won 2-0 in Albania earlier in the campaign and are priced at 5/1 to repeat that scoreline on home soil. The second half I haven't liked so much.

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"The best thing about the match has been the commitment, the enthusiasm, the humility and the passion of the players".

The other six teams to ensure they'll be in the World Cup are Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea from Asia, Mexico from the North American qualifiers and Brazil from the South American group.

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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"Pace of play? I came to Albania to prepare for the European Championship qualifiers, but we had a great second half, we created four or five chances, which isn't easy against Spain".