NEW YORK WEATHER

Spain took a huge step towards next year’s World Cup in Qatar as a 1-0 win in Greece coupled with Sweden’s shock 2-0 defeat to Georgia on Thursday put Luis Enrique’s men in pole position to qualify.

Pablo Sarabia’s penalty proved enough for La Roja to take all three points in Athens and move a point above Sweden ahead of a winner-takes-all clash between the sides in Seville on Sunday.

“Of coure I think we are going to have a place in the World Cup come Sunday, but I already thought that when we were second in the group,” said Spain boss Luis Enrique.

“We are playing against a good team that will, in theory, have to attack more against us now.”

Despite the presence of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and rising star Alexander Isak up front, the Swedes were humbled by two second-half goals from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia in Tblisi.

Cristiano Ronaldo failed to fire a lacklustre Portugal as they had to hold on for a 0-0 draw against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin after a late red card for Pepe.

Ronaldo twice came closest to breaking the deadlock for the visitors as he headed inches wide before also failing to hit the target with a curling effort from the edge of the…

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