Isco shines as Spain ends Italy’s unbeaten run in qualifiers

Isco was the star in today’s clash between Italy and Spain as the Real Madrid playmaker led la Roja to an outstanding 3-0 victory at Santiago Bernabéu.

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Following a foul near the angle of the 18-yard box, Isco opened the score for the hosts with a splendid free-kick. The Spaniard curled the ball above the wall and left Buffon agape, as the Italian keeper had a disappointing reaction time for this free-kick that he could have arguably saved, had he noticed the ball’s trajectory earlier.

Around the forty-minute mark, as Spain started to get even more comfortable with the ball, Isco received the ball from Iniesta a couple of meters away from the 18-yard box. Spain’s number 22 had a few touches before launching a strike that found its way in the back of the net, leaving a disappointed Buffon that came close to making a game-changing save.

With thirteen minutes of regular time left on the clock, la Squadra Azzurra looked as though they had given up all hope of a comeback; Alvaro Morata’s final goal would only confirm Spain’s dominance during the game. The striker led a counter-attack before passing the ball on the wing to Sergio Ramos, who would deliver a fantastic ball back to the Chelsea star, making it three.

This defeat marked the end of an impressive run of form for Italy in the competition. Their last defeat in the World Cup qualifying stages came nearly thirteen years ago in 2004, when Slovenia earned three points in a splendid hold-up at home; Italy has, in fact, never lost a qualifying match at home in their history. Just like Spain.

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This victory puts Spain atop of Group G with nineteen points, giving them a three-point advantage over Italy. Albania, who recently earned themselves a victory against group-last Liechtenstein, are sitting at third with twelve points. Israel, recent losers in Macedonia, are fourth of the group, with the latter team sitting at fifth.

Najib Guiti is the man behind the curtains, as well as the founder of the eponymous news website; he has written for various different news outlets in the British, American press and has had a successful career in football news reporting, mostly through his influence and presence on social media. He aims to integrate statistics in the sport whilst keeping his analysis focused on the non-quantifiable parts of the Game such as tactics and playing style.

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