Match Report: Spain 3-0 Italy
Spain came out dominant winners in one of the most-anticipated matches in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Isco scored twice in the first half before Álvaro Morata wrapped up the three points in the final quarter-of-an-hour as Italy were no match for Spain.
Italy had held the 2010 World Champions to a 1-1 draw back in October 2016 with Daniele De Rossi equalising from the penalty spot late on.
On what was arguably Spain’s best performance since Julen Lopetegui took charge following Euro 2016, Isco opened the scoring on 14 minutes with a delightful free kick that was won by Real Madrid teammate Marco Asensio in his first competitive international start.
The Italians were set up to sit deep and defend and failed to react to their early concession of a goal. Spain dominated the possession and doubled the lead five minutes before half-time when Isco received the ball on the edge of the penalty area before cutting inside and firing beyond Gianluigi Buffon.
The 25-year-old who was become a key part of Zinedine Zidane’s first team in Madrid put in a man of the match performance on the night, dropping between the Italian midfield and defence to receive the ball and cause problems.
Álvaro Morata left the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to sign for Premier League giants Chelsea a few weeks ago but made his returned this evening to bag Spain’s third in the 77th minute after combining with Sergio Ramos.
There was even time for David Villa to be introduced as a late substitute; the New York City FC forward making his first appearance for the national team since the 2014 World Cup.
Spain will guarantee qualification to next summer’s World Cup with seven points from their remaining three fixtures. They travel to Liechtenstein on Tuesday, host Albania in October and go to Israel three days later.