World Cup 2014 - Qualifying matches

Spain 2 - Belarus 1

Spain: Víctor Valdés; Arbeloa, Piqué, Sergio Ramos, Monreal (Iniesta 46'); Busquets; Pedro, Xavi, Cesc Fàbregas (Koke 84'), David Silva; Michu (Negredo 57'). 4-1-4-1.
Belarus: Gutor; Balanovich, Martynovich (Kisliak 80'), Filipenko, Verkhovtsov, Bordachev; Kalachev, Tigorev, Dragun, Putsila (Kornilenko 77'); Rodionov (Krivets 55'). 5-4-1.

1-0. 61. Xavi. Latched on to loose ball inside area and drilled shot past keeper.
2-0. 77. Negredo. Diving header past Gutor from long Sergio Ramos cross.
2-1. 89. Kirilenko. Ran on to Krivets pass and beat Valdés with angled shot.

Spain are another step closer to a place in the World Cup finals after a 2-1 victory over Belarus on Friday night, and a draw in their last game against Georgia next Tuesday will secure them top spot of their group. Del Bosque gave new boy Michu a place in the starting line-up, and only a last second tackle by a defender prevented him from opening his account early on. However an at times nine man defence proved a tough nut to crack, and after that only a couple of efforts by Silva and Michu came anywhere close to Gutor's goal. With half time coming up the visitors themselves carved out a couple of chances, and Piqué was lucky to be let off a penalty appeal when he cut out a cross with his arm. Del Bosque went for broke at the break however, bringing on Iniesta for Monreal, and on a prolonged attack Piqué hooked the ball back in to the goalmouth and Filipenko could only head it in to the path of Xavi, who drilled a low shot past the keeper. A quarter of an hour later substitute Negredo got on the end of a long Ramos cross to head in the second, and although Kirilenko beat Valdés with an angled shot near the end, there was little time left for the East Europeans to do much more.