Easy win for Thiago – James celebrates comeback
Spain are on course for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The leaders in Group G inflicted an 8-0 win on bottom-of-the -table Liechtenstein on Tuesday night. The team including Thiago, who played the full 90 minutes, are three points ahead of Italy with two games to play and are certain of at least a play-off spot. The winners of the nine European groups qualify directly for the finals in Russia. Four other places are up for grabs for the eight best runners-up in the groups with play-off matches in November.
David Alaba had a night to forget with Austria who could only manage a 1-1 draw against Georgia. To make matters worse, the FCB defender came off injured on 38 minutes. Valeriane Gvilia gave the visitors the lead on eight minutes in Vienna before Louis Schaub levelled two minutes before half-time. As the fourth-placed team in Group D, Alaba & Co. are five points off second place. They can no longer qualify directly.
James is back – Vidal fears for World Cup
James Rodriguez produced an impressive performance and made a significant contribution to Colombia picking up a point against Brazil. Tuesdays 1-1 draw in Barranqilla against the already qualified record World Cup winners sees Colombia in third place (26 points) in the South American qualifiers and they are in with a good chance of making it to Russia for the 2018 World Cup. Willian gave Brazil the lead in added time in the first half before Radamel Falcao Garcia levelled 11 minutes after the restart. The 26-year-old Bayern pro, who returned after being sidelined with injury for the past five weeks, was consistently the at centre of the action for his team and almost scored the winner just before the end of the game.
Arturo Vidal had a less positive time as Chile suffered another defeat. The America Cup winners lost 1-0 to Bolivia in La Paz with Juan Carlos Arce scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot just before the hour mark. That means Chile (23 points) have slipped down to sixth place in the South American qualifiers and now have to worry about qualifying for the World Cup finals. The first four teams qualify directly for Russia and the fifth goes into a play-off against a team from the Oceania Confederation.