Pedro scores 3 as Spain wins 4-0 at Belarus

Associated Press Modified: October 12, 2012 at 4:19 pm •  Published: October 12, 2012
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MINSK, Belarus (AP) — Pedro Rodriguez scored three goals and set up another to give Spain a 4-0 victory at Belarus on Friday, as the world champions won their 24th straight qualifying match ahead of their critical clash with France.

Left back Jordi Alba got Spain rolling 12 minutes in from a pass by Pedro, who then doubled the visitors' lead at Dinamo stadium in the 21st.

The in-form Barcelona forward added two more goals in the 69th and 72nd to seal the comfortable win.

"(Pedro) is playing very well for his club," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque. "Pedro is quick, dynamic, and with the aggressiveness in attack necessary to break with the mold of our short passing style."

Spain now awaits France on Tuesday in a match that could be key to determining which side finishes top of the group and with automatic qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Also in Group I, Georgia drew 1-1 at Finland on Friday.

Spain and France both have six points. Georgia is next with four. Finland has one, and Belarus has zero.

"France is an extraordinary team," said Del Bosque. "They have forwards who can play the ball long, and they have added some fresh and physical powerful players. It will be a complicated game."

Cesc Fabregas was tapped to lead the attack as he did in the final of this summer's European championships, while Fernando Torres never left Spain's star-studded bench.

With Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol unavailable with injuries, Spain coach Vicente del Bosque moved midfielder Sergio Busquets back to pair up with Sergio Ramos in the center of his defense. The pair had a tranquil night against the 87th-ranked Belarus.

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