Spain gird up their loins for the crunch clash against England at Wembley this Wednesday with a thumping 4-0 victory over minnows Macedonia in the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifiers in Grenada.
An own goal from full-back Darko Velkoski put La Roja ahead slightly after the half-hour mark, whereas Vitolo, Nacho Monreal and Aritz Aduriz piled more misery on the opposition in the second half as Spain matched Italy’s 4-0 win in Lichtenstein to keep things level at the top of group G.
Here are some of the talking points from the night in Andalusia.
#1 Dearth of first-choice centre-backs gnaw at Spain
With the defending pillar of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos sidelined with injuries, manager Julen Lopetegui was forced to revamp his backline and handed rare opportunities to Nacho and Marc Bartra. Both the youngsters have spent little time on the pitch this season, and their inexperience on the international front came to the fore as the hosts were unsettled at the back by a perky Macedonia side.
The Red Lions took the game to their mighty rivals and attacked at will. Veteran captain Goran Pandev and Daniel Mosjov, in particular, were live wires up front and were denied only by the brilliance of David de Gea. The Manchester United shot-stopper stood tall when all else failed and saved his side’s beacon during the initial stages of the match.
Nacho and Bartra were both unconvincing in their showings, mounting more pressure on Lopetegui ahead of the trip to London.