GIJON: Spain homed in on Euro 2020 by easing past the Faroe Islands 4-0 late last night for a sixth straight qualifying win that featured two goals each from Rodrigo and Paco Alcacer and moved them further clear at the top of Group ‘F’.
Sergio Ramos equalled Iker Casillas’ record of 167 appearances for Spain on an emotional night at Sporting Gijon’s El Molinon stadium, which paid tribute to the late Spain and Sporting forward Quini before kick off.
A minute’s silence was also held in memory of former Spain coach Luis Enrique’s daughter Xana, who passed away last month.
There followed a straightforward win that took Spain on to a maximum 18 points after six games and leaves them seven ahead of second-placed Sweden, who drew 1-1 at home to Norway.
Romania beat Malta 1-0 with a goal from George Puscas to leapfrog Norway into third place on 10 points.
Valencia striker Rodrigo tapped into an empty net to put Spain in front in the 13th minute despite being in an offside position when he received a pass from Mikel Oyarzabal.
But with video technology not in use in the qualifying phases, the goal stood.
Rodrigo doubled Spain’s lead in the 50th minute on coach Robert Moreno’s home debut by cutting in from the right wing and firing a left-footed shot towards goal which took a heavy deflection off a visiting defender on its way into the net.
Alcacer then entrenched his reputation as a highly productive substitute by further stretching Spain’s advantage with simple strikes in the 89th minute and deep in stoppage-time.
Meanwhile, winger Emil Forsberg drilled home a second-half equaliser to grab a point for Sweden.
The Swedes held the upper hand for most of the first half but it was the visitors who went in a goal up at the break as Andreas Granqvist made a terrible error in under-hitting a pass to Victor Lindelof.
The loose ball was snapped up by Joshua King, who powered forward before releasing the ball to Martin Odegaard. The young midfielder prodded the ball on to Norway captain Stefan Johansen, who swept home a simple finish.
Moved into a more central role in the second half, Forsberg got more and more involved in the Swedish attack and he rattled home the equaliser on the hour mark after an intricate build-up by the Swedes.
With all of the six teams having played six games, Spain lead the group on a maximum 18 points following a 4-0 win over the Faroe Islands, with Sweden second on 11 points, Romania third on 10 and Norway one point further back.