Spain put on five-star finish by thrashing ragged Romania

Alvaro Morata (Getty Images)
Alvaro Morata (Getty Images)

Madrid - Spain finished their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign with a bang as they thrashed Romania 5-0 on Monday to secure a top seeding in the draw for the finals later this month.

With automatic qualification sealed and first place guaranteed after their 7-0 demolition of Malta on Saturday, Spain indulged in another goal-fest at the Wanda Metropolitano, where Villarreal striker Gerard Moreno scored twice.

Yet despite 10 games unbeaten in Group F, including eight wins and 31 goals scored, Robert Moreno's position as coach is in doubt, with reports in Spain emerging before kick-off that Luis Enrique could be back in charge next summer.

Luis Enrique's resignation in June thrust his assistant Moreno into the spotlight but the team's progress was never in doubt, even if a kind group offers little certainty that Spain will fare as well against stronger opposition in seven months time.

Sweden had already qualified in second, while Romania knew they and Norway were destined for the play-offs, which perhaps contributed to a ragged display from the visitors that saw them trail by four goals at half-time.

If Luis Enrique is to return, he will inherit a Spain squad high on confidence but low on continuity or cohesion, with several key positions and partnerships still to be established.

Moreno experimented all the way through. His most recent 23-man squad included players from 17 different clubs and this starting line-up against Romania featured seven changes from the thumping win over Malta.

Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga and Manchester United's David de Gea are still scrapping to be first choice goalkeeper. The former was preferred here, while Inigo Martinez was the latest trialist alongside Sergio Ramos in central defence.

Brilliant dummy

Fabian Ruiz of Napoli came into central midfield. He, as well as Santi Cazorla and Gerard, perhaps furthered their claims the most. Against poor opposition, Alvaro Morata will have been disappointed to end a run of goals in seven consecutive matches.

The assault started early. Jose Gaya had a header ruled out for offside in the third minute. Then after a brilliant Cazorla dummy, Gaya created the opener as he nutmegged Romario Benzar and Fabian applied a smart finish from close range.

Kepa had to push away a George Puscas shot after some sloppy defending from Ramos and Inigo before Dani Carvajal was lucky not to concede a penalty for kicking through the back of Florinel Coman.

But Spain put the game to bed with three goals in 12 minutes.

Gerard headed in Cazorla's whipped cross and then poked home Gaya's delivery after Romania failed to clear. Then Morata might have scored had Adrian Rus not turned in Gerard's cutback for an own-goal.

Spain had chances to add a fifth in the second half, but had to wait until the 91st minute when Mikel Oyarzabal, on as a substitute, twisted and drove into the corner.

Euro 2020 qualifying results on Monday:

Group D

At Dublin

Republic of Ireland 1 (Doherty 85) Denmark 1 (Braithwaite 73)

At Gibraltar

Gibraltar 1 (Styche 74) Switzerland 6 (Itten 10, 84, Vargas 50, Fassnacht 57, Benito 75, Xhaka 86)

Group F

At Stockholm

Sweden 3 (Andersson 29, Svanberg 72, Guidetti 80) Faroe Islands 0

At Madrid

Spain 5 (Fabian Ruiz 8, Gerard Moreno 33, 43, Rus 45+1-og, Oyarzabal 90+2) Romania 0

At Ta' Qali, Malta

Malta 1 (Fenech 40) Norway 2 (King 7 Sorloth 62)

Group J

At Vaduz

Liechtenstein 0 Bosnia and Herzegovina 3 (Civic 57, Hodzic 64, 72)

At Palermo, Italy

Italy 9 (Immobile 8, 33, Zaniolo 9, 64, Barella 29, Romagnoli 72, Jorginho 75-pen, Orsolini 78 Chiesa 81) Armenia 1 (Babayan 79)

At Athens

Greece 2 (Mantalos 47, Galanopoulos 70) Finland 1 (Pukki 27)

Playing on Tuesday, November 19 (21:45 SA time):

Group C

At Amsterdam

Netherlands v Estonia

At Frankfurt, Germany

Germany v Northern Ireland

Group E

At Cardiff

Wales v Hungary

At Trnava, Slovakia

Slovakia v Azerbaijan

Group G

At Warsaw

Poland v Slovenia

At Riga

Latvia v Austria

At Skopje

North Macedonia v Israel

Group I

At Brussels

Belgium v Cyprus

At Serravalle, San Marino

San Marino v Russia

At Glasgow, Scotland

Scotland v Kazakhstan

Played on Sunday:

Group A

At Pristina

Kosovo 0 England 4 (Winks 32, Kane 79, Rashford 83, Mount 90+1)

At Sofia

Bulgaria 1 (Bozhikov 56) Czech Republic 0

Group B

At Belgrade 

Serbia 2 (Tadic 9-pen, Mitrovic 56) Ukraine 2 (Yaremchuk 32, Besedin 90+3)

At Luxembourg

Luxembourg 0 Portugal 2 (Fernandes 39, Ronaldo 86)

Group H 

At Chisinau

Moldova 1 (Milinceanu 56) Iceland 2 (Bjarnason 17, Sigurdsson 65)

At Andorra la Vella

Andorra 0 Turkey 2 (Unal 17, 21-pen)

At Tirana 

Albania 0 France 2 (Tolisso 9, Griezmann 30)

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