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September 11, 2012
• 1:30 PM
• Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi
Referee: S. Moen
• Attendance: 54598
FULL TIME. Spain come out very narrow 1-0 winners over Georgia in Tblisi after Roberto Soldado's strike in the last five minutes. The hosts gave everything and defended solidly but the world champions probed for a goal for the majority of the match, and managed to get one in the dying minutes. I've been Martin Macdonald, thank you for joining us on Goal.com! See you next time!
We are having an extended period of injury time at the moment due to Loria's injury earlier in the first half. Georgia don't look like equalising.
90' + 2'
The visitors winding down the clock now with their patient passing. It was all over as soon as Soldado scored you feel.
Its unlikely that this win for Spain will be enough to paper over the cracks. Despite their domination they have looked lost in the final third at times. I'm sure Del Bosque will be letting them know.
You have to feel for Georgia. They have gave everything they had and been fantastic at the back. They just shut down for one second and the predatory Soldado punished them.
Assist Cesc Fàbregas
Goal Roberto Soldado
SOLDADO BREAKS GEORGIA HEARTS!! 1-0 TO SPAIN!!! Fabregas finds space inside the box and slides a pass inside to the Valencia man who turns the ball into the far corner!
Just over five minutes to go! Georgia are digging so deep to keep protecting their goal! You can never, ever, count Spain out, though.
Georgia continue to bravely block every cross, pass, and shot in their box. Spain look to have ran out of ideas. Pedro has had the ball on the right-hand side a couple of times but his attempts to provide into the box have been cleared.
Ten minutes left. Can La Roja dig deep to start their qualifying campaign with a win? There's no way that Georgia are going to let go of their point lightly.
Both sides make a change at the same time again. Cesc Fabregas replaces Arbeloa for Spain and Irakli Sirbiladze comes in for Levan McHedlidz for the hosts.
Sergio Ramos risks the wrath of the Georgia crowd by continuing to play on when a home player is down. He is being berated with boos but the referee waves play on so why not continue.
Spain return to the original formula even after the small break in play. They are passing the ball around at pace along the Georgia box but there are just no openings. The home side have been in fantastic defensive shape tonight.
Kvaskhvadze has a lot to live up to as Loria has been outstanding in the game so far. It looks like the Georgia goalkeeper collided with his own defender after closing down Alba. Lets hope its not too serious an injury.
It does indeed seem to be something more serious. Hes going to be replaced by substitute goalkeeper Roin Kvaskhvadze.
Loria has been down since coming out to close down Alba. Its unclear whether its an impact injury or something more serious.
Cazorla slips a pass down the left channel for Alba and the Barca man hits the byline but the pass was slightly overhit and he can only manage to hit the side-netting. Good closing down from Loria.
All Spain at the moment. Soldado is always surrounded by three or four Georgia players inside the box which is making him incredibly isolated. The Spanish midfield congregate outside the box in numbers.
Both nations make a change. Santi Cazorla replaces David Silva for Spain and Nika Dzalamidze enters for David Targamadze.
Xavi whips in another, this time to the centre, but Kashia manages to clear for Georgia. The hosts continue to defend stubbornly.
Xavi whips in a corner kick to the edge of the area and Sergio Ramos attempts to shoot on the half-volley. It bounces wide for another corner.
Vicente Del Bosque senses that something needs to change for Spain and makes an attacking switch. Sergio Busquets has come off for Pedro.
GEORGIA HIT THE UPRIGHT!!! The home side come incredibly close to taking the lead after Amisulashvili hits the bottom of the post with a whipped left-footed shot from the edge of the box!
Silva drives forward again and again attempts a long-range strike at goal. This time it is block. Interestingly, apart from Soldado's missed chance, Spain's best chances have came from distance shots. Not like them.
Spain move the ball across the park along the Georgia box two or three times but they just cannot find a way through. Surely the hosts can't keep up this level of concentration.
Well, a poor corner kick to the front post enrages the crowd as Xabi Alonso heads the ball away to safety. A real waste of a rare set-piece opportunity there.
Georgia probing here! Mchledlidze takes on Jordi Alba on the byline and stands a dangerous cross to the back post but Arbeloa is there to head the ball behind for the hosts' first corner of the match!
We are back underway! What do Spain have in their locker to break through this sturdy Georgia defence? We will soon find out.
HALF TIME. Well, a breathless end to the first half there as Loria keeps Georgia in the match with a couple of great saves. The hosts frustrating the world and European champions at the moment. Join us in 15 minutes for the second half you don't want to miss it!
Loria to the rescue again! Unbelievable! Xavi slides a pass through to Soldado and the Valencia man's shot is saved by the chest of the Georgia man! Outstanding couple of minutes from him!
What a save from Loria!!! The Georgia goalkeeper somehow manages to get across goal and tip over a curled Xavi strike that looked destined for the top corner!
Still Georgia manage to negate the threat of Spain through the middle. They are so tight and compact in central areas that Del Bosque's men are really struggling.
Last five minutes or so in the first half. Georgia can be encouraged by their first half performance but they must aim to keep tight in the remaining moments of the first period. A goal now from Spain could be vital.
The sound of the boos from the home crowd whenever Spain are in possession is truly deafening. The Georgians really attempting to be the 12th man for the side. Against Spain though that still may not be enough to be fair.
No real urgency in Spain's play at the moment. They are playing withig themselves a little but you feel that they are going to up the tempo in the second half.
Barcelona looking for another way through the Georgia defence. They are utilizing Arbeloa and Alba on the flanks a lot more. If they can get decent service into Soldado in the box it could be a fruitful tactic.
A small break in possession at the moment as Pique catches Targamadze with a wayward arm and the Georgia man goes down. Looks like he made the most of it.
A neat passing move sees Busquets in a promising position on the right of the Georgia box, but he misses Alba at the back post after putting far too much pace on the cross. His Barcelona team-mate kicks the ball off the advertising board in frustration.
Well, Sergio Busquets attempts to take the game by the scruff of the neck with a piledriver of his own. Sadly, it lacked the quality and technique of Silva's shot, and trickles wide.
David Silva hits the post!!! So unlucky from the Man City man! He picks up the ball 25 yards from goal and unleashes a piledriver towards the right-hand post but it hits the woodwork! Loria was beaten!
Xavi dictating play through the middle at the moment. They are struggling to weave their signature short passes though, as Georgia are creating a formidable white wall of defenders at the moment.
Spain have cleverly stopped the ascendancy of the hosts by calmly keeping possession for a few moments. This has frustrated the Georgia crowd and the Georgia players.
Encouraging last few minutes for the hosts. Spain have had the majority of possession but they haven't done too much with it. The home crowd are getting really behind their team! Great to see.
Okriashvilli again! This time he shows some trickery on the left before cutting inside and driving forward to slide the ball in to Mchedlidze, who attempts to turn a shot at goal but Spain block on the edge of the area!
And here he is again! This time he bursts out of his own box and goes on another marauding run down the left! He attempts the one-two on the touchline with a team-mate but again Spain hunt them down and regain possession. Okriashvilli's speed looks to be an asset for the hosts.
Okriashvilli makes a break down the left-hand side and the crowd urge him on with gusto but he eventually turns back and is crowded out by Spain. The away side attempt to mount another attack.
Despite Spain's domination in the early stages, no clear-cut chances created yet. Georgia remaining relatively firm for now.
Well we all expected a dominant Spain in the match, but Georgia have perhaps played one pass outside of their own half. The world champions look in the mood.
First save of the night from Loria. Xavi whips in a free kick and Sergio Ramos rises high to power a header at goal but the Georgia goalkeeper gets down well to smother the ball on the line.
Roberto Soldado looks sharp on the shoulder of the last defender so far. XabI Alonso has tried to pick him out over the top a couple of times but it just hasn't came off...yet.
The Georgia fans are creating a fantastic atmosphere. All you can here at the moment is a chorus of loud boos as Spain play the ball around the park.
As suspected, Spain get into their groove early. With Xavi, Busquets, and Xabi Alonso in the middle of the park, they have a truly formidable passing unit this evening.
And we are off! The road to the 2014 World Cup starts here for Spain. Georgia, ofcourse, have already played one match in Group I. They came out win a 1-0 win against Belarus.
Well the journey starts here, and the Spain manager has delivered a surprising inclusion in his starting XI. Roberto Soldado will play as the lone striker ahead of David Villa and Fernando Torres.
So the road to Brazil starts for Vicente del Bosque's men this evening. Surely they can't win FOUR consecutive major international competitions in a row? Can they?
This is the starting XI of the world champions, Spain: Casillas; Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Alonso, Xavi, Busquets; Iniesta, Soldado, Silva
The teams are in and this is how Georgia will be lining up tonight: Loria; Lobjanidze, Kvirkvelia, Kashia, Amisulashvili; Khizanishvili, Kankava, Daushvili, Targamadze, Okriashvili; Mchedlidze
I'm Martin Macdonald, and I'll be reporting on the action this evening. Lets hope we see plenty of action!
Good evening folks! Welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of the 2014 World Cup Qualifying match between Georgia and the current holders, Spain, in Tbilisi.
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