Posted: Fri September 6, 2013 5:31PM; Updated: Fri September 6, 2013 5:31PM

Spain defeats Finland in qualifier, widens lead on France

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Jordi Alba gave Spain a 1-0 lead over Finland in Helsinki.
Jordi Alba gave Spain a 1-0 lead over Finland in Helsinki.
AFP/Getty Images

HELSINKI (AP) -- Jordi Alba and Alvaro Negredo both scored Friday to give Spain a 2-0 win over Finland in a World Cup qualifier, putting the defending champion a step closer to next year's tournament in Brazil.

Alba put Spain up in the 19th minute after a period of early domination, and Negredo sealed the win in the 86th, taking a cross from Jesus Navas to slot the ball past Niki Maenpaa in the Finnish goal.

The win leaves Spain in command of Group I with a three-point lead over France after its main rival was held to a 0-0 draw by Georgia in Tblisi. Finland plays Georgia away on Tuesday, while Spain's next match is at home against Belarus on Oct. 11.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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