Spain secured their place at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia, with a 3-0 win over Albania on Friday night.

Rodrigo, Isco and Thiago Alcantara were all on the scoresheet, to hand the former world champions victory in a match laced with political tension.

La Roja shrugged off the distractions of a turbulent week off the field caused by Catalonia’s drive for independence and more jeers for outspoken defender Gerard Pique, to seal top spot in Group G of European qualifying.

Their qualification was confirmed, after Italy could manage only a 1-1 draw at home to Macedonia.

They join England and Germany, who qualified on Thursday night, as some of the European powerhouses that will be at next year’s tournament.

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