Spain's Lopetegui hails 'phenomenal' fans for Gerard Pique response

Kelvin Reese
October 8, 2017

Spain will travel to Israel on Monday for their final Group G clash as Italy, who are nearly certain of a spot in the playoffs, finish away to Albania on the same night.

Albania actually had a golden chance to get their name on the scoresheet in first-half stoppage time when Grezda robbed Gerard Pique inside the Spain box before attempting to find Llullaku, but Ramos was across to make a fine clearance.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was greeted with a mixture of jeers and applause on his 92nd global appearance just days after voting in a referendum on Catalan independence deemed illegal by the Spanish government and blighted by police violence. In the last round Albania in a draw 1: 1 played with the Macedonian team in early September.

Ramos and Pique, who play for rival clubs Madrid and Barca, have feuded in the past but are now on good terms.

Spain, along with Belgium, Germany and England are the only European nations to have booked their berth for Russian Federation but with one qualifier remaining, plenty of other names will be added to the list in the next couple of days.

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Now in place of Smith, Aussie opener David Warner will take charge of the men-in-yellow in three match T20 series against host. Australia , on the other hand will aim to gain some confidence before heading back to play the Ashes series in a month's time.

"Sport can lead the way in how we should be as a country and you have to celebrate the good things".

With Finland surprisingly holding Croatia to 1-1 away, and Ukraine taking three points from Kosovo after a 2-0 away win, the tightest group in European qualifying will have to be decided today in the last round of matches.

"I'm very satisfied with our second half because we changed something, we were scared before that".

"The cards were the result of the game because there were disputes, and we lost control of the game at some point". Despite this, Albanian team for today after 8 rounds in the current qualifying cycle, earned 13 points with a goal difference of 10: 9 and takes 3rd place in the standings. "We created four or five opportunities, which against Spain isn't easy".

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