Spain’s terrible year continued as they were beaten 2-1 in Slovakia, with the former Chelsea midfielder Miroslav Stoch getting a late winner for the home side. It was Spain’s first defeat in a qualifier in 35 games.
Vicente del Bosque’s side had trailed for more than an hour in Zilina before substitute Paco Alcacer looked to have earned them a point with an 82nd-minute equaliser. However, Slovakia, who had been forced back for much of the game, responded, Michal Duris delivering a superb hanging cross to the far post for Stoch to bury his header.
Juraj Kucka had given the hosts the lead in the 17th minute thanks to another error by Iker Casillas. The Spain goalkeeper misjudged Kucka’s 30-yard free-kick which was straight at him and allowed it to squirm into the net.
Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets went close for an equaliser and Spain increased the pressure after the break, Diego Costa having a snap shot turned round a post by goalkeeper Matus Kozacik. Alcacer finally made their domination count, ghosting on to David Alba’s cross to score from close range but Stoch was on hand to deliver victory for Slovakia.
Vladimir Petkovic’s poor start as Switzerland coach continued as his side, beaten 2-0 by England in their first Group E game, slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Slovenia. Milivoje Novakovic got Slovenia’s winner from the penalty spot in the 80th minute.
Estonia, whom England face on Sunday, lost 1-0 to Lithuania in Vilnius, the former Hearts winger Saulius Mikoliunas getting the goal with 14 minutes to go.