Del Bosque’s men were made to work hard for their first three points of the 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifying stage. Despite dominating the match, Spain found it hard to break the goalless deadlock with Georgia, but Soldado - assisted by Cesc - scored the match winner on 86 minutes.

Five Azulgranas in the starting line-up

Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Iniesta, Xavi and Jordi Alba were the five FC Barcelona players named to Del Bosque’s starting line-up. Xavi and Iniesta were the driving force behind every Spanish attack, but the Iberians were unable to overcome Georgia’s entrenched defence. The two clearest chances for Spain in the first half were created by Xavi. The midfielder found Silva on 27 minutes, but the Manchester City player’s attempt hit the post. Minutes later, Soldado was denied by Loria.

Hard-fought victory

Georgia came out swinging in the second half. The home team’s surge forward was nearly rewarded with a goal, but the ball crashed against the woodwork (min 53). Del Bosque was determined to win all three points and he sent on Barça’s Pedro and Cesc, and Arsenal’s Cazorla. Finally, on 86 minutes, after Georgia’s starting keeper was subbed off, Spain scored the match-winning goal. Pedro passed the ball to Cesc in Georgia’s area, and the Barça player assisted Soldado, who buried the ball in the back of the net.

Disappointment for Chile

Chile wasn’t as lucky as Spain. The South American team, with Alexis Sánchez on the pitch for most of the match, lost to Colombia in Santiago by 1-3. The home team were reduced to 10 men on 56 minutes when Medel was given his marching orders. Despite being down a man, Chile scored first thanks to a goal from Mati Fernández, but Colombia rallied to score three second-half goals (through Rodríguez, Falcao and Gutiérrez) to win the match.

Chile now lie in fourth position behind Ecuador, Colombia and Argentina, respectively.

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