World champions Spain began their qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup finals with a 1-0 win at Georgia on Tuesday, while Russia thrashed Israel 4-0 for a second successive qualifying win under Italian coach Fabio Capello.

Spain needed a late winner from Roberto Soldado to win 1-0 at Georgia in a one-sided group I game in the European World Cup qualifiers.

Soldado, making a rare start for the world and European champions, struck four minutes from time to break the deadlock in Tbilisi.

Two goals from Alexander Kerzhakov, in the seventh and 64th minutes, plus goals from Alexander Kokorin (18) and Victor Fayzulin (77) gave visiting Russia an impressive result against Israel in Ramat Gan to put themselves in early charge of group F.

It followed Friday’s 2-0 victory over Northern Ireland in Moscow.

In a group E qualifier in Larnaca, Cyprus beat Iceland 1-0 thanks to a 57th-minute winner from Constantinos Makridis for their first qualifying points.

The visitors, who had beaten Norway 2-0 on Friday, finished the match with 10 men after a red card to Solvi Ottesen three minutes from time.

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