Finland: Mäenpää; Toivio,
Pasanen, Moisander, Arkivuo; Tainio (Riski 69'), Halsti; Ring
(Hämäläinen 69'), Eremenko, Schuller; Pukki (Zeneli 80').
Spain: Casillas; Koke, Raúl Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Mario Suárez, Iniesta; Pedro (Cazorla 80'), Cesc Fàbregas (Negredo 71'), David Villa (Jesús Navas 54'). 4-3-3.
0-1. 19. Jordi Alba. Collected Fàbregas lofted pass and turned shot past Maenpaa.
0-2. 85. Negredo. Got on end of Jesús Navas cross to steer shot wide of keeper.
Spain have one foot in the World Cup finals after a 0-2 win in Finland on Friday night. Starting just a point above France in the table, a victory was vital against a tricky side who held them to a draw in Gijón earlier this year. However France themselves were held to a scoreless draw by Georgia this evening, and with home games against Belarus and Georgia to come next month, it looks like Spain's presence in Brazil is virtually assured.
Del Bosque had a couple of surprises up his sleeve, with Koke drafted in at right back and Mario Suárez replacing the injured Busquets, and his decision to opt for Casillas in goal ahead of Víctor Valdés was revindicated when the Real Madrid keeper made a reaction save after Ramos turned a cross towards his own net. Pukki also went close as the hosts looked to catch their opponents out on the breakaway, but a couple of minutes later a lobbed pass by Fàbregas put his Barcelona team-mate Jordi Alba through to open the scoring.
Either side of half time Villa and Pedro fired shots just wide of the target, but Tainio headed a corner just past the near post as Finland came looking for the equalizer. Del Bosque finally turned to his Manchester City pairing of Navas and Negredo, hoping that the chemistry they had brought to the Premier League from Sevilla would pay off, and it worked to perfection as the pair combined for Negredo to make it two with five minutes to go. The main hurdle is out of the way, and Spain can already start to apply for those Brazilian visas for next summer.