Spain completed a solid 2-0 victory over Algeria to rise to the summit of Group G in the European World Cup Qualifiers.
Julen Lopetegui’s men enjoyed 73% possession in the first half but struggled to create chances against their well-organised rivals. However, a mistake from Etrit Berisha allowed Diego Costa to break the deadlock, while substitute Nolito doubled Spain’s lead.
The victory allows La Roja to leapfrog Albania as the leaders of group G with 7 points, just as defender Gerard Pique announces a retirement date.
Pique, 29, who has won the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 European Championships with Spain, will retire from international football after the 2018 World Cup after controversy surrounding his jersey sleeves.
The Barca player, already unpopular with some Spanish fans for his support for Catalonian independence, caused social media outrage because his jersey sleeves did not have a Spanish flag trim.
Pique said in a statement released by Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF): “I have tried everything, but I can’t bear this anymore.”
“Today’s issue of the sleeves is the straw that breaks the camel. They’ve managed to make me lose the excitement of coming here and although after Russia I’ll only be 31, I’ll leave.”
The RFEF had also since defended its player, issuing a statement explaining Pique’s actions.
“This lack of trimming can be seen on the shirt of his partner, Sergio Ramos, who also worse long sleeves. The player cut his sleeves with the sole purpose of playing more comfortably, like other internationals have done on many occasions. Unfair criticism of Gerard Pique has caused him to declare that he will leave the Spanish team after the World Cup in Russia.”