Spain’s national soccer team secured its berth in the 2014 World Cup with an easy 2-0 win here Tuesday over an injury-ridden Georgia.
Besides giving Albacete a chance to honor native son Andres Iniesta, long a key member of La Roja, the match served to put the shine back on a Spanish side that has lately fallen short of its characteristic excellence.
Spain, the 2010 World Cup champion, came into Tuesday’s contest needing only a tie to assure its ticket to Brazil, but the Spanish fans wanted more.
Coach Vicente del Bosque reinstated team captain Iker Casillas in goal and the veteran came through with a big save to frustrate Georgia’s only serious scoring threat of the match.
Negredo made it 1-0 for Spain with a goal in the 26th minute, while Juan Mata - who had played only 15 minutes in the qualifiers prior to Tuesday - provided an insurance tally in the 63rd minute.