|Attempts on target||6||1|
|Attempts off target||7||1|
|Attempts against woodwork||0||0|
|B||Russia||Republic of Ireland|
|D||Bosnia and Herzegovina||Belarus|
With UEFA EURO 2008 top scorer Fernando Torres sitting in the stands, Álvaro Negredo stole the spotlight in the 6-0 Group I win against Liechtenstein, scoring twice as Spain confirmed their place at next summer's finals.
The Sevilla FC striker has now netted five times in six international appearances after two goals between the half-hour mark and the interval broke the resistance of Hans-Peter Zaugg's dogged, well-marshalled team. Negredo's strikes looked the product of that top-class mix of patience and precision that defines an out-and-out goalscorer. However, he admitted to UEFA.com that it was not all as serene as it seemed.
"My second goal?" he said. "Well, it might have looked like I meant it but I didn't catch the shot well at all. Mind you, who knows? If I had hit it properly then perhaps the keeper would have anticipated and saved it. I'm happy with how it ended.
"Liechtenstein were terrifically well organised at the back, constantly working hard and they made it difficult for us," added the 26-year-old. "
We were just seeking that crucial final pass and finally, after half an hour of pushing and probing, Xavi gave me the perfect opportunity to break the deadlock. I'm very happy I put it away."
Second-half substitute Fernando Llorente grew up in this northerly part of Spain before signing for Bilbao's Athletic Club, and the crowd in Logrono made it clear they were eager to see the towering forward. That meant more pressure for Negredo, who continued: "It was obviously more important for the team and the eventual victory that my goals changed the game, but because I was chosen to start I knew this was another big opportunity for me and I wanted to take advantage."
Further strikes from Xavi Hernández, Sergio Ramos and two by Spain's all-time leading scorer, David Villa, added finesse to the world champions' muscular qualification for the finals in Poland and Ukraine. With 18 points, they can no longer be caught, regardless of how they fare in their remaining games, in the Czech Republic and against Scotland in Alicante.
Coach Vicente del Bosque introduced Thiago Alcántara for his first senior cap, with the Italian-born playmaker of Brazilian parentage now committed to his adopted homeland. "It was a tricky decision because of my Brazilian heritage but it was also logical given I've been playing for Spain since Under-16 level," he told UEFA.com. "Playing for the full international side in a competitive match was a unique experience and it felt like I was representing the whole of Spain. It felt great."
For Liechtenstein, there remained the consolation of a spirited performance – and pride. Captain Mario Frick said to UEFA.com: "It was so disappointing to go in at half-time 3-0 down, after half an hour in which we didn't even allow them a chance. But we learn a lot from matches like this. The way to look forward is to concentrate on beating Scotland."
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