Spain defeats Finland in qualifier, widens lead on France

Jordi Alba gave Spain a 1-0 lead over Finland in Helsinki.
AFP/Getty Images

HELSINKI (AP) -- Jordi Alba and Alvaro Negredo both scored Friday to give Spain a 2-0 win over Finland in a World Cup qualifier, putting the defending champion a step closer to next year's tournament in Brazil.

Alba put Spain up in the 19th minute after a period of early domination, and Negredo sealed the win in the 86th, taking a cross from Jesus Navas to slot the ball past Niki Maenpaa in the Finnish goal.

The win leaves Spain in command of Group I with a three-point lead over France after its main rival was held to a 0-0 draw by Georgia in Tblisi. Finland plays Georgia away on Tuesday, while Spain's next match is at home against Belarus on Oct. 11.

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