Spain qualify for 11th consecutive World Cup

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Victory over Albania, coupled with a poor result by Italy against Macedonia, has ensured La Roja will be at next year's event in Russia

Spain have become the fourth European team to qualify for the World Cup, reaching football's biggest competition for an 11th consecutive tournament.

La Roja ensured qualification for next year's event in Russia by winning 3-0 at home to Albania in Alicante.

Spain scored all their goals within 26 minutes, Rodrigo netting a fine close-range effort before Isco's fourth goal in three international matches and Thiago Alcantara's header made the game safe.

That victory for Spain, coupled with Italy's shock 1-1 home draw against Macedonia in Turin, assured Julen Lopetegui's men of top spot in Group G with a game to spare. 

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They will be looking to recover in the 2018 edition of the tournament proper after crashing out at the group stage at Brazil 2014 as they tried to defend their world title won in South Africa four years earlier.

Belgium were the first team to advance from the UEFA section of 2018 World Cup qualification prior to this international break, while Germany and England booked their ticket to the tournament on Thursday.

Russia are automatically in the competition as the host nation.

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