Alvaro Morata and Iago Aspas each scored twice as Spain’s relentless march towards World Cup qualification continued with an 8-0 hammering of Liechtenstein on Tuesday.
Just four days on from a masterclass at the Santiago Bernabeu, in which Group G rivals Italy were swept aside 3-0, Julen Lopetegui’s side were once more at their stunning best.
The quality of opposition paled in comparison to the Azzurri, but there was an ominous ruthlessness on show in a match that at times felt like little more than an entertaining training exercise for Spain.
Essentially, Liechtenstein’s fate was sealed from the moment Sergio Ramos headed in a second-minute opener, and Morata doubled the lead before pouncing on an error from the hosts’ goalkeeper Peter Jehle to tee up Isco – who scored twice against Italy – for the third.
David Silva, who, along with Isco, Andres Iniesta and Thiago Alcantara, had Liechtenstein’s midfield chasing shadows, scored the pick of the bunch with a stunning 39th-minute free-kick.
Half-time substitute Aspas then scored twice either side of setting up a second for Morata and Gerard Deulofeu forced a late own goal as Spain, who scored eight away from home for the first time, mathematically guaranteed at least a top-two finish in the pool.
Italy’s victory over Israel means Spain’s lead over the Azzurri remains at three points with two matches to play.
7 – Spain have scored seven goals in an away game for the first time ever (excluding games played at neutral venues). Easy. pic.twitter.com/GnKJ4qJbgY
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 5, 2017
For all Spain’s easy-on-the-eye, tiki-taka style, there was a beautiful simplicity about the opener as Silva lofted a free-kick from the right into the middle of the box that Ramos easily nodded home.
There was a touch more class about the second as Andres Iniesta linked well with Isco before whipping in a right-wing cross that Morata headed powerfully to the left of Jehle.
A minute later and Jehle produced a moment for the blooper DVDs with a comical air-kick that allowed Morata to steal in and lay off for Isco, who hammered into the unguarded goal.
Morata, perhaps harshly, then saw a goal ruled out when he was judged to be offside when nodding in Silva’s cross, before the Chelsea striker saw a bending effort saved by Jehle.
But it was 4-0 six minutes before the break. Thiago Alcantara won a free-kick 25 yards out to the right of goal and Silva curled a sumptuous effort into the top-right corner.
There was no let up after the interval. Morata thought he had a second when his header from Pedro’s pin-point cross hit the crossbar and Jehle before trickling into the path of Aspas, who lashed home.
Just three minutes later and Morata did double his personal tally, Aspas this time carving open the Liechtenstein defence for the striker to slot home into the bottom-right corner.
Aspas continued to terrorise the home defence and he cut in from the right of the area to smash in a left-footed shot in the 63rd minute.
With the job well and truly done, Spain eased off the gas but had time to add yet more gloss a minute from time when Deulofeu’s low centre struck the boot of Maximilian Goppel and diverted past a diving, wrong-footed Jehle.
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