February 24 2018

Groin strain forces Villa out of World Cup qualifier for Spain

February 24 2018, 05:49 | Frederick Owens

World Cup qualifying: Free betting tips and odds for Saturday's games, including Spain v Italy

How has David Villa managed to earn a Spain recall?

The 35-year-old New York City striker was a surprise inclusion in Julen Lopetegui's squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein. It was a key moment with this game for qualification.

"Ventura, what is this Italy?" headlined the Corriere dello Sport which summed up the bitter disappointment after the previous night's showing at the Santiago Bernabeu. "It makes me very happy to be here", Villa said after the match.

"Isco has always had quality and now he is becoming a great player". Albania is third with 12 points. The victor of Saturday's game will likely advance to the World Cup as the group victor.

Alexander Ring scored a stunning early free kick for Finland as they beat Iceland 1-0 in Tampere, dealing a severe blow to the visitors' hopes of direct qualification for next year's World Cup finals in Russian Federation.

It is predicted that in today's UEFA World Cup Qualifying the team Spain will win against Italy.

Ukraine jumped from the fourth place to the top of Group I on 14 points, one above Croatia and Iceland, who lost 1-0 to Finland.

Macedonia beat Israel 1-0 in Haifa to damage the hosts' chances of a playoff spot. "He unlocked the match", Lopetegui said of the Real Madrid man. Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. With two superb first-half goals, he blew Italy away in a game that had threatened to be a tight affair: his first, a free-kick bent into the top corner, his second a sweetly struck shot tucked right inside Gianluigi Buffon's post.

The half ended with the Spanish fans chanting "Ole, ole" as their team overwhelmed Italy.

Isco went on to help Madrid to a second successive Champions League crown under Zinedine Zidane, starting the 4-1 demolition of the Juventus in the final. Isco just rolled his studs along the top of the ball, stuck it between Verratti's legs and raced clear before very almost setting up Italy for a third goal.

And a flowing team move got the finish it deserved five minutes before half-time when Isco cut inside onto his weaker left foot, but still dispatched an unstoppable effort from outside the box low past the helpless Buffon. Álvaro Morata joined the scoring party with a tap-in following a cross from Sergio Ramos, and the victory was sealed.

Italy had a goal disallowed because of offside in the 75th.

A 10-minute cameo role in a World Cup qualifier against Liechtenstein a year ago and two friendly appearances are his only appearances for Spain's first team but his rampant start to the season make him a likely starter on his home turf.

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