Spain beat Georgia 1-0 with late Soldado goal
TBILISI, Georgia (AFP) - Reigning World and European champions Spain needed an 86th-minute strike from Roberto Soldado to beat Georgia 1-0 in their opening Group I qualifier for the 2014 World Cup here on Wednesday.
It looked set to be a frustrating start to La Roja's bid to make it to the finals in Brazil, as a wall of Georgian defenders repelled wave after wave of attack and the hosts even initially overcame the loss of goalkeeper Giorgi Loria to injury in the second half.
But then the visitors played a corner short to substitute Cesc Fabregas, whose low centre was swept home by Soldado.
It was the perfect riposte from the Valencia striker, who was not included in Vicente del Bosque's squad for the Euro 2012 campaign, to the surprise of many at the time.