Spain cruised to victory while Italy held on to open their World Cup qualifying campaigns with wins in Group G on Monday. Diego Costa ,...
Spain cruised to victory while Italy held on to open their World Cup qualifying campaigns with wins in Group G on Monday.
Diego Costa, David Silva and Alvaro Morata all scored twice as Spain broke the game open in the second half to thrash Liechtenstein 8-0.
Costa rose the highest to meet Koke's free kick from the side of the box in the 10th minute.
Spain were frustrated for the rest of the first half as Sergio Busquets saw an effort cleared off the line by defender Michele Polverino. But the floodgates soon opened with three goals inside a five-minute span.
Sergi Roberto started the onslaught by putting the ball through the keeper's legs after Nolito did the same to a defender with a through ball.
Vitolo passed to David Silva, who made it 3-0, before the Sevilla man scored himself from close range a minute later.
Costa found his second of the night five minutes after that as he cut inside only to see his shot saved by Peter Jehle, but it came directly back to him to head home.
Alvaro Morata replaced Costa and found two goals himself, first beating Jehle at his near post and then seconds later firing a hard shot that the keeper should have handled.
Silva thought he had a second in the late goings but had it ruled off for offside, but moments later he did find the net to cap the scoring.
Italy escaped a scare after Giorgio Chiellini was sent off to come away with a 3-1 win in Israel.
Marco Verratti played a good pass to pick out Luca Antonelli on the wing, whose short cross found Graziano Pelle to tap in the opener in the 14th minute.
Italy were two goals to the good on the half-hour mark when Ben Bitton tripped up Antonelli on the edge of the box and Antonio Cardreva converted the resulting penalty.
Israel struck back five minutes later, however, when Chiellini misplayed the ball and it fell to Tal Ben Haim, who took one touch before chipping Gianluigi Buffon from the edge of the 18-yard box.
Chiellini, who had already been booked in the first half, was then sent off 10 minutes into the second half for a second yellow after colliding with Tommer Hemed.
Buffon came to Italy's rescue, pushing Eran Zahavi's shot inches wide of the post, as theAzzurri held on until Ciro Immobile shrugged off a defender to score an insurance goal in the 83rd minute.
The final game in Group G was halted in the second half because of heavy rain with Albania and Macedonia level at 1-1.
In Group D, Gareth Bale had a goal and an assist as Wales kept up their fine form with a 3-0 home win over Moldova.
Bale sparked Wales into life in the 38th minute when his curling cross from the wing fell perfectly for Sam Vokes to head home.
And it was a two-goal advantage before the break when Moldova goalkeeper Ilie Cebanu punched away Joe Ledley's corner, but it fell right to Joe Allen to lash home through traffic.
Bale scored Wales' third goal in the second half, intercepting Ivan Jardan's preposterous back pass for one of the easier goals of his career.
Also in Group D, Daryl Murphy scored his first international goal to give Republic of Ireland a 2-2 draw at Serbia.
Jeff Hendrick had provided Ireland with the lead after just three minutes when his low shot from the top of the box took a big deflection off of Branislav Ivanovic, carrying it past keeper Predrag Rajkovic.
But Serbia were back level in the 62nd minute after Dusan Tadic to turn with the ball in the box and lay it off for Filip Kostic to score the equaliser.
And Tadic put Serbia ahead from the penalty spot after Kostic controversially went to ground under a challenge from Jonathan Walters.
But substitute Murphy found the equaliser with a header in the 80th minute to salvage a draw for Ireland.
Earlier, Austria began their Group D campaign with a 2-1 win at Georgia.
Group I is all even after all three games ended in 1-1 draws.
Kosovo managed a point against Finland in their first competitive gain since joining FIFA.
Iceland followed up their fine Euro 2016 campaign with a stalemate in Ukraine that was played behind closed doors.
In the draw in the Croatia, the hosts found the breakthrough in the 43rd minute after Ismail Koybasi fouled Luka Modric in the box and Ivan Rakitic converted the penalty.
But Turkey were level before the break when Hakan Calhanoglu's long free kick found the net after taking a big deflection in the wall.
Here are the full-time scores from Europe's World Cup qualifiers
Georgia 1-2 Austria
Serbia 2-2 Republic of Ireland
Wales 4-0 Moldova
Albania 1-1 Macedonia (Match stopped after 77 minutes)
Israel 1-3 Italy
Spain 8-0 Liechtenstein
Croatia 1-1 Turkey
Finland 1-1 Kosovo
Ukraine 1-1 Iceland