Swedish shock in Georgia opens door to Spain


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London (AFP) – Sweden collapsed in a shock 2-0 defeat to Georgia on Thursday, giving Spain a lifeline in their bid to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.

Khvicha Kvaratskhelia struck twice in the second half for hosts Tbilisi as a Swedish side with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and rising star Alexander Isak were humiliated.

Spain can now take the lead in Group B when they face Greece in Athens later on Thursday.

Sweden’s stumble means that even if Spain fail to take all three points, they will have a second chance to secure their place in Qatar when they host the Swedes in Seville on Sunday.

Russia crushed Cyprus 6-0 in St. Petersburg to come close to a qualifying point.

A brace from Aleksandr Erokhin and second-half goals from Fedor Smolov, Andrei Mostovoy, Aleksei Sutormin and Anton Zabolotny put the Russians five points ahead of Croatia in Group H.

If the 2018 World Cup finalists do not win later in Malta, Russia will be assured of first place in the section.

Portugal will look to take the lead in Group A when they travel to the Republic of Ireland, while already qualified Germany will host Liechtenstein.


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