Lopetegui applauds unbeaten Spain

Spain were far from their best in Monday's win over Israel, but coach Julen Lopetegui still watched them wrap up World Cup qualification without suffering defeat.

Asier Illarramendi bagged his first international goal with a cracking volley in the 76th minute in Jerusalem, making it nine wins out of 10 for La Roja, with just a draw against Italy between them and a perfect qualification record.

"We knew it was going to be difficult because we were up against a hyper-motivated team," Lopetegui said. "They played well and in the first half, we did not know how to attack their defence.

"When you do not score the first goal soon it sometimes complicates everything but in the end, we have achieved the three points. We must congratulate the players for this brilliant qualification."

As for Illarramendi, the Real Sociedad midfielder is one of those on the periphery of the national team and very much fighting for his place in the squad, with players like Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, and Thiago Alcantara not in the squad against Israel but all surely expecting to feature in Russia.

"I'm very happy to play and do my bit, and my goal was ultimately needed for the win, which was important," Illarramendi said after the game.

"It'll be difficult for me to go to Russia. Everyone here has a chance and we'll fight ."

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