Spain thrash Italy 3-0 to close in on World Cup

Spain beat Italy 3-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday in their World Cup Qualifying match to grab a stranglehold on Group G.

Isco grabbed two goals during a scintillating display from Spain, the Madrid star beating Gianluigi Buffon with a free-kick before adding a second with a shot from outside the penalty area.

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata added a third from Sergio Ramos’ cross at the far post after coming on a substitute.

It was Italy’s first defeat in a qualifier since 2006.

Spain lead the group with 19 points while Italy have 16.

Only the winner from each group qualifies directly for Russia, with the eight best second-placed teams entering play-offs.

In other matches played on Saturday, Wales gave their hopes of qualifying a boost as they beat Austria 1-0 in their Group D clash at the Cardiff City Stadium courtesy of a brilliant long range strike from teenager Ben Woodburn.

In other Group D matches, The Republic of Ireland could only manage a 1-1 draw in Georgia to remain in second place after Serbia beat Moldova 3-0.

Serbia now top the group with 15 points ahead of Ireland on 13. Wales are now in third place with 11 points.