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October 13, 2012
• Stadyen Dynama, Minsk
Referee: S. Gumienny
• Attendance: 28800
Jordi Alba 12'
Pedro 21', 69', 72'
Full time in Minsk. Spain run out comfortable 4-0 winners over Belarus thanks to a goal from Jordi Alba and a fantastic hat-trick from Pedro. Vicente Del Bosque's men have been dominant from start to finish. France up next for the world champions! Thank you for joining us on Goal.com. I'm Martin Macdonald, see you next time!
Nothing comes from the attempt and Belarus boot the ball up the park. Shouldn't be too much longer until Belarus are put out of their miser.
Spain with a chance to get a fifth now as David Villa is poised to strike on goal from a free kick.
Hleb picks up the ball in midfield and attempts to drive into the Spain half but Xabi Alonso shows dominance by easing him off the ball to retain possession for Spain. The Madrid man has been exemplary again tonight.
Cazorla misses by inches!!! The Arsenal man picks up the ball 20 yards from goal and hits a sweet strike towards the bottom right corner but it goes just wide of the goal! That certainly had Veremko beaten!
Spain looking so, so comfortable now. Belarus knew they were beaten long ago and Del Bosque's men are using the time to further test out their short passing game.
David Villa hits the bar!! So unlucky!! The substitute exchanges passes with Jordi Alba and opens up his body to whip a strike towards the top corner but it cannons off the underside of the bar! Pedro steps up and attempts to smash in the rebound but sends his attempt wide!
Stanislav Dragun drifts in behind the Spain defence and latches on to a pass through the middle and has a shot with the goal at his mercy, but is flagged as offside. Looked like a good decision.
It looks like Del Bosque definitely has one eye on France now. Influential playmaker Xavi has been replaced by David Villa. The Barcelona striker will get a 15 minute run out. Plenty of time for another goal for Spain.
In the midst of the goal madness there, Raul Albiol came on to replace Sergio Ramos for Spain. Perhaps the Real Madrid man is being rested for the vital match against France on Tuesday?
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
GOOOOOOAAAAAAL FOR SPAIN!! Pedro gets his hat-trick!! Fabregas fights for possession on the left and eventually sends the ball inside to the unmarked Pedro who wonderfully chips the ball over the goalkeeper before collecting again and passing the ball into the empty net! Wonderful goal by the Barca man!
GOOOOOOAAAAAL FOR SPAIN!!! Pedro finds space in the inside left channel just outside the box and fires a cracking left-footed strike into the far corner! Brilliant goal! 3-0!
That had Veremko scrambling!! Cazorla latches on to a loose ball on the edge of the area after a corner and thunders a shot towards goal. It looked to be beating the Belarus goalkeeper but it takes a late deflection of a defender and goes out for a corner.
The home crowd have been slightly subdued in the second half. They were vibrant in the first period and were backing their team with cheers, but Spain have done well to quieten the fans.
Cesc is being employed in the 'false 9' role this evening, but his creative play of the first half has been slightly missing in the second so far. It is also leaving nobody in the box for Spain when they attack. It was Silva in the first half but he is off now.
Spain keeping the ball at will at the moment but their possession lacks some urgency. No defence-splitting passes being attempted at the moment. They look happy to continue frustrating the hosts with their short passing.
Yellow Card Igor Shitov
Ohhh bad challenge from Igor Shitov! The Belarusian commits a nast foul on Sergio Ramos in the Spain half. He receives a booking and Jordi Alba takes a short free kick from the back.
Andrés Iniesta Luján
First change of the match for Spain. David Silva comes off to be replaced by Andres Iniesta.
Belarus retreating in their own half and look in a bad way as Spain press high up the park. However, Cesc goes in too intensely on Hleb and the referee awards a free kick. A silly foul from the Barca man.
Santiago Cazorla tests the gloves of the Belarus goalkeeper with a left-footed shot bit Veremko was equal to it. Cazorla not shy at hitting a shot as we know, the Spaniard scored a screamer against West Ham last weekend.
Veremko makes a great save! A loose ball on the box bounces towards the top corner but he shifts his body quickly to tip the ball round the post!
Jordi Alba drives down the left-hand side and whips a cross into the centre for Silva. The ball looks destined for the Spain man but Alexander Martynovich is there with a vital clearance behind the goal.
There is a change to report at half time for the hosts as Sergei Kislyak comes on for Aleksandr Volodko.
BELARUS GET US BACK UNDERWAY.
HALF TIME. Well its been an extremely one-sided affair so far with Spain totally dominant in possession over the hosts, Belarus. Goals from Jordi Alba and Pedro give Vicente del Bosque's men a very comfortable lead going into the break. You wouldn't bet against them getting a couple more. Join us in 15 minutes for the second half!
Spain under a little pressure at the corner flag and Sergio Ramos is facing his own goal as he attempts to clear the ball away. He is let off the hook when Volodko gives away a free kick for a handball.
Spain look to have negated the mini ascendancy of the home team. They have cleverly kept possession around the defence and frustrated the hosts. La Roja once again in control.
First booking of the match for Belarus after Stanislav Dragun goes in late on Sergio Busquets. It has not really been a dirty game, but tackles are starting to fly in.
Yellow Card Stanislav Dragun
A rare shot on goal for Belarus as Maksim Bardachov finds space just inside the Spain box to drill a shot towards the near post. However, his attempt goes wide of the left-hand post and it was never really bothering Casillas.
A decent period in the match for the hosts. Spain are sitting a little deeper and Volodko in particular is starting to see a lot more of the ball for Belarus.
As Alba runs down the left wing you can see him getting an earful from Vicente del Bosque.
Sloppy from Spain!! Jordi Alba attempts gives Xabi Alonso a hospital pass around 30 yards from goal and the Real Madrid man had to slide the ball back to Casillas! Hleb looked as though he might have nicked the ball there!
The Manchester City player receives a booking shortly after being called as offside. He may have said something to the referee there.
Yellow Card David Silva
Xavi at the heart of it again. This time he finds space 10 yards outside the box and fires a pass into the feet of Silva inside the area. Silva turns and looks poised to shoot on goal but he is flagged as offside. Good decision.
Belarus are just enjoying a bit of a breather at the moment. The pressing of the Spain attackers has not been as intense in the last minute or so and this has gave the defence a chance to get their foot on the ball. Doubt this lasts long to be honest.
Xavi breaks forward through the middle and attempts to pick out Fabregas with a threaded pass between the Belarus defenders but the home side manage again to clear the ball to safety. Relentless Spain attacking.
Belarus captain Veremko looks frustrated in the home goal, and no wonder, he has received very little protection in front of him. On a couple of occasions he has also attempted to play the ball short from the back with nobody stepping up to receive the ball.
Spain starting to turn on the style now. Pedro and Alba link up excellently down the left-hand side and the left-back attempts to pick out Fabregas inside the area but Belarus clear for the time being.
Assist David Silva
GOOOOOOOAAAAAL FOR SPAIN!!! David Silva fizzes a pass into the feet of Pedro on the edge of the area and the Barca man evades a couple of challenges before driving through on goal to delightfully dink the ball over the goalkeeper! 2-0! This could be a cricket score!
Spain's intricate passing in the central areas is a joy to behold. They were missing this slightly in the last match which is why they toiled at times in the midfield against Georgia. It is present tonight though alright.
Arbeloa has seen a lot of the ball in the past couple of minutes. He may not be the most ambitious of full backs, but he will need to affect the game for Spain on the flanks, as there is plenty of space out there.
The visitors are really looking in the mood here. Does not bode well at all for Belarus. I think they have only been out of their own half two or three times. So much so that when they do they crowd explode in cheers.
Goal Jordi Alba
GOOOOAAAAAAAL!! Not long as it turns out!! Jordi Alba scores his second goal for Spain after latching on to a brilliant flick from Pedro to go beyond the Belarus defence and take the ball around goalkeeper Veremko before slotting home! 1-0 Spain!!
Spain are winning the ball back incredibly quickly here. There is a lot more intensity in the performance than that of a few months ago against Georgia. How long will Belarus hold out?
The home crowd pump up the volume as the hosts break out of their own half. They are certainly getting behind their team!
Spain break forward at pace down the left. The ball finds its way to Cazorla inside but the Arsenal man is met with a sea of white in front of him. Its incredibly tight just outside the Belarus area. You get the feeling that Alba and Arbeloa in the wider areas are going to be key for the world champions tonight.
Five of the starting XI of Belarus apply their trade for BATE Borisov, so there are some players in there with big match experience.
What a miss from David Silva!!! Xavi picks the Man City man out with a gorgeous pass over the top of the Belarus defence and he runs in behind only to lose his composure and smash the ball wide! Perhaps he thought he was offside there!
Spain not wasting any time in getting into their slick passing play. The ball has been mostly with Sergio Ramos and Sergio Busquets so far, but Belarus already have retreated deep into their own half.
AND WE ARE OFF!
Surely it will not be Belarus who stop this incredible run?!
A fantastic stat for you as we approach kick off: Spain are on a 46-match unbeaten run in World Cup qualification matches. Their last defeat in a World Cup qualifier came away to Denmark in March 1993.
So it looks like Cesc will be starting in the 'false 9' position with Pedro and David Silva supporting from the flanks. Santiago Cazorla makes a deserved start after an impressive start to the season and Sergio Busquets starts at the back.
This is how Spain will be lining up tonight, and there are some surprises in there: Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Busquets, Alba; Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Cazorla; Silva, Fabregas, Pedro
THE TEAMS ARE IN.
Vicente del Bosque's men are aiming for an incredible 24th straight qualifying match victory this evening, and with Belarus having lost their first two matches in the group, the signs are not good for the hosts!
Good evening folks! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the 2014 World Cup Qualifier between Belarus and Spain at Stadyen Dynama in Minsk
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