Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas capped off an excellent team move with a goal and provided a clever assist as Spain recorded a 2-1 win over Costa Rica on Thursday night.
Costa Rica took a surprise lead on the fifth minute, but Fabregas helped Spain level the scores two minutes later.
The 28-year-old set up Paco Alcacer in the seventh minute with a typically exquisite touch, before putting Spain ahead on the half-hour mark with a neat finish. It proved to be the match winner for Vicente del Bosque’s side. (To see the goal and assist, scroll down this page).
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Spain now travel to Barysaw, where they will face Belarus in their next Euro 2016 qualifying match on Sunday.
The 2010 World Champions are currently second in Group C, having taken 12 points from their first five matches, just behind leaders Slovakia. But they can move a significant step closer to booking their place in next summer’s showpiece international tournament in France by winning this weekend.
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Spain still recovering from Brazil
Spain are still recovering from last summer’s humiliation at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
Many tipped La Roja to successfully defend their crown as world champions in South America, but they were thrashed 5-1 in the opening match by the Netherlands and failed to recover.
A 2-0 defeat to Chile in their second group match left them dumped out of the tournament after 180 minutes of action; their 3-0 victory over Australia in their final Group B match was of little consolation.
Despite their embarrassing exit - which, make no mistake about it, hurt Spain badly - it’s been a case of evolution rather than revolution for Del Bosque.
Bizarrely, the veteran coach has kept faith with Real Madrid’s now-unreliable goalkeeper Iker Casillas, whose decline started about three years ago, for the qualification matches.
With Manchester United’s world-class goalkeeper David de Gea set to replace Casillas at the Bernabeu this summer, it seems almost perverse that Del Bosque has stuck by the inferior World Cup winner.
But Del Bosque has always been fiercely loyal to those who have helped Spain win silverware.
Spain can win Euro 2016
Spain still possess arguably the best squad of players in world football, with star names in all areas of the pitch.
Currently third favourites to win Euro 2016 - just ahead of Roy Hodgson’s England(!) - it would come as no surprise if Spain ended up lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy in Paris next July.
Will Spain win Euro 2016? Have your say in the comments below!
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