Latvia: Kolinko; Zirnis, Ivanovs, Zakrasevskis,
Klava; Bleidelis (Pereplotkins 86'), Laizans, Astafjevs, Rubins (Solonicins
65'); Karlsons (Cauna 89'), Verpakovskis. 4-4-2.
Spain: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Marchena, Capdevila; Albelda (Xabi Alonso 67'), Xavi; Angulo (Joaquín 46'), Luis García (Soldado 55'), Iniesta; David Villa. 4-2-3-1.
0-1. 45. Zakre (own goal). Turned Angulo cross past Kolinko challenged by Villa.
0-2. 61. Iniesta. Shot from Xavi which hit Iniesta on back and looped past keeper.
Spain moved a step closer to qualifying for next summer's European finals after beating Latvia 0-2 tonight. Injuries to Torres, Silva and Joaquín forced Luis Aragonés to put out a much changed line up, with late call up Luis García making his debut in the starting line up and another new cap Soldado waiting on the bench. With less than a minute on the clock García had put Kilinko to the test with a flick on from Villa's cross, and Villa and Angulo both had efforts blocked as Spain dominated the opening minutes.
However after that they were unable to make much headway, limiting themselves to long shots which caused no problems for the keeper. But with the first half coming to a close David Villa ran in to chase a cross from Angulo, and veteran defender Zakresevskis could only head it in to his own net.
Aragonés brought on Joaquín and then Soldado, but the locals were unlucky not to level the scores when Astafjevs sent Maris Verpakovskis away, only for the Getafe striker to fire his shot wide of Casillas's far post. However just a couple of minutes later Spain got their second of the night, again with a stroke of fortune after Xavi's shot hit Iniesta on the back and deflected into the net.
Villa and Soldado both went close later on, but they had done enough to clock up a third win in a row, and they provisionally move up to second in the table pending UEFA's decision on how to deal with the match between Denmark and Sweden, which was abandoned near the end after a local spectator attacked the referee. If the points are awarded to Sweden as expected, it will be a three horse race for the two qualifying spots between the Scandinavians, Spain and Northern Ireland. Spain's next match is on Wednesday against Liechtenstein.