Spain beats Finland 2-0 in World Cup qualifier

Helsinki, Sep 6 (EFE).- Spain's national soccer team chalked up its first-ever win in Helsinki on Friday, cruising to a 2-0 victory over Finland that brought La Roja one step closer to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup tournament.

The defending World Cup champions also dispelled the bitter taste left when the Finns held them to a tie when the squads met earlier this year in Spain.

Coach Vicente del Bosque opted to start Spain's long-time captain, Iker Casillas, in goal, despite Victor Valdes' solid performance during his colleague's absence due to injury.

The visitors were constantly on the attack and it didn't take long for them to break through the Finnish defenses, with Jordi Alba scoring in the 18th minute thanks to a beautiful pass from Cesc Fabregas.

The Finns, short on quality but long on determination, managed to blunt the Spanish attack in the second half, prompting a worried Del Bosque to turn to Alvaro Negredo, who went in at the 71-minute mark, replacing Fabregas.

Negredo's arrival energized the Spanish side and he put the nail in Finland's coffin with a goal in the 86th minute.

The win in Helsinki left Spain in first place in European qualifying Group I, leading France by three points with just matches left in the round.