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The Isco show

Number 22, Isco in possession on Saturday night
Number 22, Isco in possession on Saturday night / AFP
  • Spain beat European rivals Italy 3-0 on Saturday night in World Cup qualifier, but all eyes were on a masterful performance from Costa-born Isco

Benalmádena-born Isco helped Spain to beat Italy 3-0 on Saturday night. The game was hosted at Real Madrid's Bernabéu stadium, a place where Isco is likely to feel at home (Isco joined Real Madrid in 2013), and his performance undoubtedly reflected his comfort.

The 25-year-old playmaker scored an excellent free-kick in the 13th minute to put Spain ahead, and smashed home his second with a low strike from outside the area before half time.

A goal from substitute Álvaro Morata in the 77th minute sealed the deal for Spain, and now at the top of the group, they are close to direct qualification for the World Cup Finals in Russia 2018. Only the first-placed team in each group will receive automatic qualification for the finals, with the best-ranked second teams to compete in play-offs.

Spain's victory, with Isco at the helm, looks to have decided the outcome of group G. Italy, who now trail Spain in group G by three points, must hope for a miracle if they are to gain automatic qualification as Spain face reasonably simple fixtures against Liechtenstein (Tuesday 20:45), Albania and Israel.