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Spain Edge Belarus

Xavi and Alvaro Negredo fired Spain to a 2-1 win over Belarus as the world champions remain comfortable at the top of Group I.

It was far from easy for the Spaniards as the game was goalless after the opening 45 minutes but they managed to get their reward after the break and are now on the verge of qualifying for the world showpiece – needing just one point.

Swansea forward Michu was handed a start for Spain with Fernando Torres and David Villa out, while Pedro made a lively start to the game with some strong running at the defence.

David Silva tried to pick out Michu but the latter failed to finish the chance while Silva nodded a chance off target soon after.

Spain were controlling the possession but chances were hard to come by, with Silva enjoying the best opportunity with a curling strike that the goalkeeper had to save.

Gerard Pique saw Stanislav Dragun's cross hit his hand in the area before the break but the referee waved away the appeals - with the Barcelona defender already on a yellow card.

Coach Vicente del Bosque threw in Andres Iniesta after the break and Spain would finally take the lead when a hooked ball into the area from Pique was not cleared properly and Xavi's bullet strike found the back of the net.

The opener allowed Spain to push on for a second with Negredo burying a diving header after a flick from Pedro.

Belarus went on a rare attack late in the game and it resulted in Kornilenko pulling a goal back for the visitors but they couldn't find a late equaliser as Spain held on for the win.

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