In a surprise to no one, Spain clinched their spot in the 2018 World Cup, securing the top spot in Group G of the UEFA qualifiers following their 3-0 win over Albania.
Spain, with one more match left to play (against Israel), are the 11th team to secure their spot in the World Cup and the 5th from UEFA. Before them spots were already secured for Russia (hosts) as well as Germany, Belgium and England, also winning their groups.
Spain are 90 minutes away from finishing the campaign undefeated, winning 8 of their 9 matches. Their only draw was on October 6, 2016, finishing in a 1-1 tie against Italy, playing in Turin. They’ve won 7 consecutive matches since, including 3-0 against Italy last month, with Isco (twice) and Alvaro Morata doing the damage. Italy will have to try and make it into the World Cup via the playoffs.
Spain have a terrific 35-3 scoring record during the campaign, conceding only against Italy, in their 4-1 win over Israel and a tougher than expected 2-1 win in Macedonia. Four players lead their scoring charts, with Diego Costa, Isco, Morata and David Silva each scoring 4 goals.
It’ll be the 15th World Cup appearance for Spain, qualifying to every one of them since 1978. They hosted the 1982 tournament and won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In Brazil, three years ago, they were shockingly knocked out in the group stage, finishing behind the Netherlands and Chile.
The other six teams to ensure they’ll be in the World Cup are Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia and South Korea from Asia, Mexico from the North American qualifiers and Brazil from the South American group.