Much-changed Spain dominate Belarus
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Spain 3-0 Belarus
Isco, Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodríguez got the goals as Spain dominated their first competitive match in Huelva.
Article top media content
• Spain win first competitive match in Huelva with powerful performance
• Isco gets first Spain goal as one of six changes from last lineup
• Juventus striker Álvaro Morata makes senior debut in dominant display
• Sergio Ramos wins 95th international, behind only Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernández
• Next games: Spain v Ukraine, FYR Macedonia v Belarus (27 March)
Spain remain within three points of UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying Group C leaders Slovakia after a dominant performance in which Vicente del Bosque's only regret will be that just Isco, Sergio Busquets and Pedro Rodríguez scored.
In tune with the vibrancy of the welcome from a hugely enthusiastic Huelva crowd, savouring their first competitive La Roja fixture, the European champions started with verve and confidence. Despite the absence of experienced playmakers like Andrés Iniesta and David Silva, both injured, the way in which Santi Cazorla, Pedro and, above all, Isco deputised ensured that the blanket Belarus defending did not suffocate the game.
Evidence arrived as early as the seventh minute. Cazorla split the visitors' defence with a slide-rule pass which Pedro, one on one with Yuri Zhevnov, wastefully clipped just wide of the post. Spain's attacking formation mutated from 4-2-4 to 2-3-5 such was their control and the reward finally came when Isco stepped inside his marker and put a searing right-footed shot into the top corner.
Almost instantly the lead was doubled by Busquets who had never scored for Spain before Group C began, but who now has two in the first four qualifying matches. Despite their advantage the home side stalled slightly, Paco Alcácer missing a routine chance for the third from Pedro's cross after half-time. However, an intricate move featuring a Juanfran-Cazorla wall-pass led to Pedro curling in his 16th goal for his country after 55 minutes.