LEON, Spain — Diego Costa scored a goal in each half to lead Spain to an 8-0 rout of Lichtenstein in Group G of European qualifying for the 2018 World Cup on Monday.
Sergi Roberto, David Silva, Victor “Vitolo” Machin and Alvaro Morata also scored for Spain in its first competitive match under new coach Julen Lopetegui, who replaced Vicente del Bosque last month after the team’s elimination in the round of 16 at the European Championship.
“We are very pleased with how the team performed and to have won these first three points,” Lopetegui said.
Costa scored with headers in the 10th and 66th minutes in the northern city of Leon. He had netted only one previous goal for Spain, nearly two years ago against Luxembourg in qualifying for Euro 2016. Del Bosque had left the Chelsea striker out of the squad that travelled to France for the tournament earlier this year.
“It was very important for me to score and for the team to win,” Costa said. “My teammates have always supported me and I hope it continues like this.”
Morata also scored twice, in the 82nd and 83rd minutes, after replacing Costa midway through the second half. Roberto netted his goal in the 55th, Silva added to the lead in the 59th and closed the scoring in injury time, while Vitolo got on the scoresheet on the hour.
Silva had also scored twice in Spain’s 2-0 win over Belgium in a friendly last week, a match that marked Lopetegui ‘s debut with the national team.
Monday’s result was Spain’s biggest win over Lichtenstein, surpassing the 6-0 win from 2011 in qualifying for Euro 2012.
ISRAEL 1, ITALY 3
Italy extended its unbeaten streak in World Cup qualifiers to 28 matches despite being reduced to 10 men in Haifa, after defender Giorgio Chiellini was sent off following a second yellow card in the 55th minute.
Chiellini will now be suspended for the much-anticipated match against Spain in the next round on Oct. 6.
Graziano Pelle opened the scoring in the 14th minute and Antonio Candreva doubled Italy’s lead from the spot in the 31st.
Ben-Haim pulled one back for Israel four minutes later but Ciro Immobile sealed the result in the 83rd.
ALBANIA 1, MACEDONIA 1 (Suspended)
Albania’s match with Macedonia was suspended in the 76th minute because of heavy rain.
The final 15 minutes will be played at 2 p.m. (1200 GMT) Tuesday.
Armando Sadiku opened the scoring for Albania in the ninth minute and Ezdjan Alioski equalized in the 51st.
The match was being played at the newly-renovated stadium in Shkodra, 120 kilometers (75 miles) north of the capital Tirana.