Vaduz (AFP) – Alvaro Morata and Iago Aspas struck twice as Spain dished out another 8-0 thrashing to Liechtenstein on Tuesday to edge ever closer to booking their place at the World Cup in Russia next year.
Italy’s 1-0 win over Israel means Spain remain three points clear of the Azzurri at the top of Group G of European qualifying with just two games remaining.
However, Spain can also now count on a 17-goal advantage on goal difference over the Italians, meaning victory at home to Albania next month will virtually seal qualification.
The 2010 world champions have fully cashed in on their meetings with the whipping boys of the group, having also humbled Liechtenstein 8-0 on home soil a year ago.
Spain captain Sergio Ramos ended the hosts’ resistance after just two minutes when he rose unchallenged to head home David Silva’s free-kick.
Morata has taken advantage of Chelsea teammate Diego Costa’s absence due to lack of match fitness as his standoff with Antonio Conte at club level continues.
Morata furthered his case to be Julen Lopetegui’s first-choice striker by netting three times over the past four days.
The former Real Madrid striker added to his goal against Italy at the weekend with a simple header from Andres Iniesta’s cross before pouncing on a mishit clearance from Liechtenstein goalkeeper Peter Jehle to tee up Isco to make it 3-0 inside 16 minutes.
Silva then added a fourth before half-time with a sumptuous free-kick to take his tally to nine international goals in the year since Lopetegui took charge.
Lopetegui introduced Aspas at the break to hand Silva a rest and he too made his case for more minutes.
The Celta Vigo man tapped into an empty net after Morata’s header came off the bar and then picked out Morata with a clever pass for Spain’s sixth.
Aspas showed his poise in a crowded penalty box to smash home the seventh.
And Liechtenstein’s miserable evening was summed up when Maximilian Goppel turned Gerard Deulofeu’s cross into his own net to round off the scoring a minute from time.
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