Silva scores twice as Spain beat Scotland 3-1
David Silva scored twice and set up David Villa's 50th goal for Spain as the defending champions denied Scotland a playoff place for next year's European Championship with a 3-1 win on Tuesday.
Scotland's loss allowed the Czech Republic to overtake it and finish second in Group I after it beat Lithuania 4-1. Scotland needed to match the Czechs' result to clinch a spot in next month's playoff for the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
''The result is disappointing,'' Scotland coach Craig Levein said. ''We don't like to lose, but I told the players that this is as hard as it gets. I don't feel we hit our stride until three or four games into qualifying.''
World Cup champion Spain has won 14 straight competitive matches and finished Group I perfect after an eighth straight victory.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque left striker Fernando Torres but Spain's attack didn't miss the Chelsea striker as the 2008 champions scored after six minutes. Villa collected the ball and slipped a pass to the overlapping Jordi Alba who cut back for Silva to guide a low shot under Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor.
Spain showcased its characteristic possession football at the Rico Perez stadium with Pedro Rodriguez and Carles Puyol getting chances before Scotland began to threaten.
But Spain continued to pressure McGregor before Silva scored his second goal at the close of the half after cutting in from the right and swapping passes with Pedro before stroking the ball low into the far corner.
''I think we've got a lot of alternatives,'' Del Bosque said. ''I also think it's healthy for the mentality of the group that all the players participate and feel useful. I know it's difficult to put everyone on, but we are always searching for better.''
Silva made his case to start more matches for the world champions as his influence grew and he orchestrated an intricate passing move with Santi Cazorla and Pedro before rolling the ball to Villa to score in the 54th as the Barcelona striker added to his record total for Spain in his 80th game.
''They knock the ball around so quick and so crisp,'' Scotland's Steven Naismith said. ''We tried to get forward as much as we could but you can't go right up against a Spain team that has world-class players.''
David Goodwillie scored a consolation goal for Scotland with a 66th-minute penalty after Victor Valdes - making his first start for Spain with Iker Casillas rested - felled Craig Mackail-Smith in the box.
Spain: Victor Valdes, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol (Alvaro Arbeloa, 45), Jordi Alba, David Villa, Xavi Hernandez (Fernando Llorente, 64), Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Pedro Rodriguez, Santi Cazorla, David Silva (Thiago Alcantara, 55).
Scotland: Allan McGregor, Alan Hutton, Phil Bardsley, Christophe Berra, Gary Caldwell, Charlie Adam (James Forrest, 63), Darren Fletcher (Don Cowie, 85), James Morrison, Craig Mackail-Smith, Barry Bannan (David Goodwillie, 63), Steven Naismith.