Alaba in limbo - Thiago in pole position

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David Alaba and Austria missed out on an important victory in the World Cup qualifiers on Sunday. The game against Ireland ended all square at 1-1 leaving the Austrians four points behind the Irish in fourth place in Group D. Alaba made a decent start to the match playing in a central role in attacking midfield. The FCB man provided the assist from a corner on 31 minutes as Augsburg's Martin Hinteregger opened the scoring. The hosts grew ever stronger after the restart with Jonathan Walters levelling the scores on 85 minutes. As only the group winners qualify directly for the World Cup and the runners-up have to take their chances in a play-off that means Alaba and Co. still have their work cut out.

Thiago and Spain remain top of the table

In contrast, Thiago is in a much better position. Spain beat Macedonia 2-1 on Sunday night to retain top spot in Group G – level on points with Italy who clocked up a 5-0 win against Liechtenstein. David Silva (15') and Diego Costa (27') scored for Spain and Thiago came off the bench on 74 minutes to play in an advanced midfield role. The consolation goal from Stefan Ristovski (66') did not change the course of the game so Spain were able to maintain their pole position in the group. Thiago and Co. have their noses in front due to a better goal difference putting and are in a good position for the next match. The top two teams meet in a crucial encounter in Madrid on 2 September.

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