Isco inspires Spain to steady win; Swiss make easy work of Lithuania
HUELVA, Spain --
Francisco ''Isco'' Alarcon scored early to spark Spain's placid 3-0 win over Belarus in a European Championship qualifier on Saturday.
Slovakia's 2-0 victory at Macedonia kept it on top of Group C with 12 points, while Ukraine stayed level with Spain on nine points after Andriy Yarmolenko scored a hat trick in a 3-0 win at Luxembourg.
With Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas injured, Isco made a strong argument to form part of coach Vicente del Bosque's remodeling project as Spain looks to defend its European title in 2016.
Isco curled in a long strike to open the scoring in the 18th minute. Sergio Busquets made it 2-0 a minute later, and Pedro Rodriguez scored in the 55th. Jose Callejon and Alvaro Morata debuted for Spain as substitutes.
Xherdan Shaqiri scored two late goals as Switzerland eventually claimed a 4-0 win over a stubborn Lithuania side in Euro 2016 qualifying Group E.
Lithuania goalkeeper Giedrius Arlauskis had kept his side in it for over an hour but when his error handed the Swiss the lead, the floodgates opened. Fabian Schar added the second and Shaqiri's brace made it a comfortable win for Switzerland who move level with their opponents on six points, six behind group leaders England.
Meanwhile in Podgorica, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored on his return for Sweden but it was not enough for victory as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Montenegro.
Coach Erik Hamren admitted in the build-up to the match that Ibrahimovic is not yet fully fit after a heel injury, but put him in the starting line-up regardless and it paid off when he opened the scoring after nine minutes.
But the Paris St. Germain forward then missed a number of chances to double the lead, striking a post in the 72nd minute, and Sweden paid a price as Stevan Jovetic leveled from the penalty spot with 11 minutes left.
The draw is enough to nudge Sweden into second place in Group G after Russia's defeat to Austria, while Montenegro are now level on points with Fabio Capello's side.
Slovakia maintained their 100 percent record in Euro 2016 qualifying with a 2-0 at Macedonia.
Jan Kozak's men went into the clash top of Group C after wins over Ukraine, Spain and Belarus and goals from Juraj Kucka and Adam Nemec ensured it stayed that way at the Philip II Arena.
Slovakia are now three points clear after a maximum 12-point haul from the opening four matches, while Macedonia look to be slipping out of contention after suffering their third defeat.