Football: Spain secure place in World Cup finals

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Spain became the fourth European team to qualify for next year's World Cup finals as a scrambled 76th-minute goal by Guillermo Amor sealed a 2-1 Group Six victory over Slovakia in Bratislava last night.

Even if Spain somehow lost their last game against the Faroe Isles on 11 October, they would still go to France as Europe's best runners-up - thanks to Georgia beating Moldova last night to take Italy out of the running.

Amor's goal came a minute after Jozef Majoros had threatened to delay the Spanish celebrations with an equaliser out of the blue.

Kiko Navarez had put Spain ahead in the 47th minute with a header from a perfect centre by Alfonso Perez - and anything but three points for Spain would have been an injustice.

Georgia beat Moldova 1-0 in a stormy Group Two qualifier in Chisinau which saw three red cards. The Newcastle midfielder Timur Ketsbaia put the visitors ahead in the ninth minute, after combining with Archil Arveladze in a fast counter-attack.

The game turned nasty in the second half when Georgia's Kakha Koladze was sent off for a bad tackle from behind. Then Moldova's captain, Alexander Curteanu, and the Georgian striker Georgi Kiknadze were involved in a flare-up and followed Koladze down the tunnel.