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World Cup qualifying

Alaba suffers defeat, Spain win without Thiago

On Saturday evening, more Bayern players were fighting to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. While Thiago and Spain hosted Italy in a clash of European heavyweights, David Alaba played for Austria in Cardiff. fcbayern.com rounds up both matches.

Former world champions Spain have taken a major step towards the World Cup finals. The Spanish overtook Italy (16 points) in the standings with a 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu in Madrid in the top match of Group G, seizing first place with 19 points. Albania in third (10) have only an outside chance of reaching the playoffs.

While Isco (13, 40) fired Spain into the lead with two goals in the first half, it was substitute Alvaro Morata (79) who rounded off the scoring in a surprisingly one-sided encounter. Thiago remained on the bench for the duration of the prestigious match. Spain now have every chance of qualifying directly for next year's finals.

Meanwhile, Austria's chances of featuring at the World Cup are fading fast. Alaba and Co lost 1-0 to Wales in Cardiff, leaving them seven points behind Group D front-runners Serbia on just eight points with only three games to play. Fighting the Austrians for second place are Ireland (13) and Wales (11).

Youngster Benjamin Woodburne made his full international debut and promptly scored on 74 minutes shortly after coming on as a substitute to clinch a narrow victory for the Welshmen in front of 32,633 fans at Cardiff City Stadium. Alaba played the full 90 minutes, but could not prevent Austria's third defeat in seven matches.