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EURO holders Spain brush FYROM aside

Spain 5-1 FYROM
Paco Alcácer struck and Sergio Busquets scored his first goal in 69 caps as Vicente del Bosque's side made an impressive start to EURO qualifying.

EURO holders Spain brush FYROM aside
EURO holders Spain brush FYROM aside ©UEFA.com

Local boy Paco Alcácer marks his competitive debut with a goal early on
Sergio Busquets is also on target with his first goal in what was his 69th international
Sergio Ramos revives memories of the UEFA EURO 2012 semis with a 'Panenka' penalty
Tome Pacovski superb against the European champions in the FYROM goal 
Next games: FYROM v Luxembourg, Slovakia v Spain (9 October)

Spain immediately took control at the top of UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group C with a remorseless and thoroughly entertaining 5-1 victory over the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in Valencia.

Vicente del Bosque's side showed no anxiety or after-effects from their early elimination from the FIFA World Cup, the retirement of linchpins Xabi Alonso and Xavi Hernández or a lengthy injury list. Mobile and full of creativity from the off, the UEFA European Championship title holders sparked chance after chance.

They merited their lead when Sergio Ramos used his 'Panenka' technique to chip Tome Pacovski from the penalty spot in the 16th minute. And in the blink of an eye it was 2-0 as Juanfran's back-post volley reached Valencia CF's Paco Alcácer, 17 minutes into his competitive debut, and he hammered home.

Agim Ibraimi, the visitors' most impressive outfield performer, got his reward from the spot after Juanfran was adjudged to have impeded Aleksandar Trajkovski soon before the half-hour. Spain's captain Iker Casillas went one way, the ball the other.

Pacovski excelled between then and the break, saving from Pedro Rodríguez and David Silva (twice) before a goal-bound Alcácer shot was somehow diverted over. Sergio Busquets's first goal for Spain made it 3-1 before the interval and almost immediately after it FYROM were napping as Silva had time and space in the box to thump in the fourth with his left foot.

Casillas topped off his own fine night with another classy stop from Ibraimi, and Pedro capped a fine team performance in added time with a delightful chip following Silva's through ball. But for misses from Isco, Pedro and Silva, Spain's victory could have been even more handsome – yet 5-1 is not a bad start to their title defence.

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