Wednesday, 18 October, 2017

Spain through to World Cup; Serbia pushed out

Ramos relationship is phenomenal insists Pique Ramos relationship is phenomenal insists Pique
Wallace Pearson | 08 October, 2017, 01:18

Pique was booed by fans during training sessions this week because of his support for an independent Catalonia and was withdrawn after an hour following a shaky performance at the heart of the Spanish defence and receiving a mixed reception from the home crowd.

"We were very good in the first 30 minutes". They now have 20 points with one round of games to go in the group qualifiers.

Spain won 2-0 over Albania earlier in the campaign but needed two second half goals to break down a dogged rival and it could be they who will have to be patient again on Friday, but the prize of a ticket to Russian Federation should be worth the wait. "It has not been an easy week - we must focus on Albania", Ramos told the media.

The result means Italy, who drew 1-1 with Macedonia, will have to qualify for Russian Federation via the play-offs. The second half I haven't liked so much.

The whistles and boos appeared to affect Pique, who picked up a yellow card in the second-half for pulling back an opponent - a booking which rules him out of Spain's final group game away in Israel.

"I have never planned such a thing or prepared to do it".

Albania boss Christian Panucci, who saw his side hit the post during a second-half purple patch, believes Spain have the capacity to go all the way in Russian Federation next year.

"They are a good team who we felt would arrive with a desire to play well, we had to be prepared to keep the ball on the floor and ignore the emotions surrounding qualification". You've seen their quality.

Regarding the game, which saw Albania suffer a fourth defeat in qualifying but remain third in the group, Panucci said: "The first goal was very nice, the other two we could have done better with".

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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