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 By PA Sport

Unbeaten Spain 'played brilliantly in qualifying' - Julen Lopetegui

World Cup Qualifying: Asier Illarramendi (76') Israel 0-1 Spain
Asier Illarramendi's superb goal led Spain past Israel and ensured their unbeaten record in qualifying.

Spain manager Julen Lopetegui hailed his side's unbeaten World Cup qualification campaign after they signed off with a 1-0 win in Israel.

The victory extends Spain's unbeaten run in World Cup qualifiers to 63 since they were beaten 1-0 by Denmark in March 1993.

Asier Illarramendi's brilliant 75th-minute strike in Jerusalem was the only goal in what turned out to be a tricky fixture for the 2010 World Cup winners.

Lopetegui, who extended his unbeaten start to his time in charge of the national side to 14 games, can now plan for next summer's tournament in Russia.

But Lopetegui will have to wait until the rest of the qualifiers are finished before finding out whether Spain will be among the eight top seeds for the group stage.

"We played brilliantly in qualifying," Lopetegui said.

"Our goal difference is fantastic.

"But whether or not we are seeded depends on third-party results."

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Lopetegui said his players needed to be patient to break down a stubborn and enthusiastic Israel side.

"It was not an easy match," Lopetegui said.

"In the first half we were not able to attack as much as we would like against a team that was very motivated.

"However, in the second half we found the answers, even though we were already through [to Russia] before this match."

Lopetegui made 10 changes to the side that beat Albania 3-0 on Friday night.

The only player to keep his place was Sergio Ramos.

Lopetegui defended choosing to start the Real Madrid centre-back.

"I played Ramos, that was my decision," he said.

"We made a lot of changes and I considered that he was well and had to play."

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