Juventus
    04.09.2017 09:42 - in: FIFA World Cup S

    Bianconeri International Round-Up: Part two

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    Buffon & Barzagli start as Italy falls to Spain plus many more in action

    There was plenty on the line at the Bernabeu in Madrid on Saturday night as Italy and Spain clashed in a World Cup qualifier that could very well be a World Cup final. It was the hosts, Spain, who came out on top with a comprehensive 3-0 win that puts La Roja in the driver's seat to earn an automatic qualification spot to Russia 2018.

    Isco opened the scoring for Spain with an expertly taken free kick in the 13th minute while he earned his brace in the 40th minute. Alvaro Morata closed the scoring late in the match to seal the win. Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli started for Italy while Federico Bernardeschi came off the bench in the second half. 

    Elsewhere, Mario Mandzukic and Croatia were forced to abandon their match with Kosovo after a flooded pitch ended proceedings after only a half hour. Wojciech Szczesny was an unused substitute in Poland's 4-0 loss to Denmark while Medhi Benatia played every minute in Morocco's 6-0 win after Mali. 

    On Sunday, France had a shock 0-0 draw with Luxembourg, though Blaise Matuidi did not play in the match. With two matches remaining in qualifying, France hold a slender one-point lead over Sweden.

    Miralem Pjanic likewise did not feature in Bosnia-Herzegovina's 4-0 win over Andorra. Combined with Greece's loss to Belgium, Pjanic's country holds a one-point lead over Greece for the final playoff spot with two games left. 

    Mario Mandzukic and Croatia completed a 1-0 win over Kosovo in a match that took place a day after previously scheduled with the match being abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch.

    Finally, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Switzerland took another step towards qualification with a 3-0 win over Latvia in which Lichtsteiner started. Switzerland hold a three-point lead over Portugal at the top of the group, though must travel to Portugal on the final matchday. 

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