Spain defied defied the political impasse with separatist Catalonia to qualify for the 2018 World Cup with a routine 3-0 home win over Albania.
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was greeted with a mixture of jeers and applause on his 92nd international appearance just days after voting in a referendum on Catalan independence deemed illegal by the Spanish government and blighted by police violence.
Rodrigo, Isco and Thiago Alcantara all scored inside the first 30 minutes in Alicante as the 2010 world champions locked up top spot in Group G as Italy were surprisingly held to a 1-1 draw by Macedonia in Turin.
“We had to concentrate solely on football,” coach Julen Lopetegui told Spanish TV station Teledeporte.
“It has been a difficult, complicated week and fortunately we managed to do that in a very, very good first 30 minutes.”