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Spain Edge Closer To Brazil

Defending world champions Spain moved ever closer to confirming their place in the 2014 FIFA World Cup with a 2-0 win away to Finland on Friday night.

Jordi Alba put the Spaniards ahead before Alvaro Negredo made the result safe late on to ensure that they took advantage of France's draw with Georgia in Group I - with Spain going three points clear with two games to go.

Coach Vicente del Bosque made a number of changes to his side with the likes of Mario Suarez, David Villa and Koke getting a run out while Iker Casillas was put in goal ahead of Victor Valdes.

The long-time Spain number one responded to his selection by making a crucial save 11 minutes in after Sergio Ramos had diverted a cross toward his own goal.

Teemu Pukki was then sent clear but thumped his shot over as Finland made a strong start but their momentum was halted as Alba fired home after running onto a lofted pass from Cesc Fabregas.

The strike allowed Spain to settle and they controlled the remainder of the first period – though were unable to find a second goal.

Villa flashed a fierce shot across the face of goal and inches wide before Pedro went close to finding their second after the interval.

Teemu Tainio would respond for the hosts with a shot into the side netting but Manchester City striker Negredo would finally wrap up the result for the European giants when he tapped in their second after a pass from club teammate Jesus Navas.

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