Spain qualify for World Cup despite Pique boos

Spain secured their place at next summer’s World Cup after coasting to a 3-0 win over Albania, yet Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was jeered by his own supporters.

Goals from Rodrigo, Isco and Thiago sealed Spain’s qualification with a game to spare and condemned second place Italy to the play-offs for a chance to feature in Russia.

However, the big talking point of the game was the reception handed to Pique after expressing his support for the Catalonia independence referendum last weekend.

Despite coming in for stick at a training session before the game, Pique insisted he would continue to represent his country.

But the 30-year-old – who will miss the final qualification game in Israel on Monday through suspension – saw his every touch booed by Spanish fans in Alicante.

Meanwhile, four-time world champions Italy conceded a late equaliser at home to Macedonia, which rubber-stamped Spain qualification with a game to go.

Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini had put Italy ahead early on, yet Aleksandar Trajkovski levelled in the 77th minute.

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