2018 World Cup Qualifier
Result: Israel 0-1 Spain
Date: 09 October 2017
Venue: Teddi Malcha Stadium
Having been frustrated for much of the game, Spain eventually beat Israel 1-0 at the Teddi Malcha Stadium to end their FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign top of Group G with 28 points from 10 games.
Unsurprisingly, Spain dominated possession and attacking opportunities early on, but they were unable to severely trouble Israeli keeper Ariel Harush in the opening quarter.
However, in the 32nd minute, he was forced into a fine save by Sergio Ramos — who let rip from distance with a stunning strike.
11 minutes later, Spain caught Israel out with a well-executed counter-attack, but Harush saved the hosts once again as he denied Pedro one-on-one.
As a result, the sides went into the break deadlocked at 0-0.
Tomer Hemed had a chance to open the scoring three minutes after the break after being set up by Marwan Kabha at the near post, but couldn’t quite direct his first-time left-footed shot on target.
Ofir Davidzada then picked up the first yellow card of the game in the 52nd minute for a foul on Iago Aspas.
Aritz Aduriz wasted a good chance to score in the 64th minute, completely missing the ball as he attempted to shoot from close range.
Spain continued to pour forward, but Israel seemed to have all the answers in defence.
However, in the 76th minute, Asier Illarramendi finally delivered a knockout punch, smashing a half-volley into the top right corner of the net from outside the box following a clearance from a corner.
Israel persisted in search of a point and went close in the 87th minute, when Almog Cohen missed the target with a curling shot after having been set up by Yossi Benayoun.
However, Spain ultimately held on to claim what was essentially a meaningless win, given that they had already secured qualification.
Nevertheless, Julen Lopetegui will be reasonably pleased with his strength in depth after his side controlled the game despite him having made 10 changes to his starting lineup.
With next year’s showpiece in Russia drawing closer, the 2010 World Champions look a force to be reckoned with.