A workmanlike 2-1 win here Friday over Belarus brought Spain within one point of assuring itself a chance to defend its World Cup title at next year's tournament in Brazil.

Spanish coach Vicente del Bosque shuffled his lineup for the contest in Palma, starting Victor Valdes in goal over team captain Iker Casillas, who played a big role in La Roja's 2008 and 2012 European championships and the 2010 World Cup triumph.

The other novelty for Spain in Friday's match was the international debut of forward Michu, who has demonstrated his scoring prowess with Premier League club Swansea City.

A defensive-minded Belarus squad held Spain to a single scoring opportunity in the first half.

Defender Gerard Pique picked up a yellow card for a hand ball and would have been ejected seconds before half-time if the referee hadn't missed a second offense.

After replacing Monreal with Andres Iniesta at the start of the second period, Del Bosque sent Alvaro Negredo in for Michu at the 57-minute mark.

The changes paid off in the 61st minute, when Xavi scored a well-deserved goal.

Negredo made it 2-0 with a great header in the 78th minute, while Belarus narrowly avoided the shutdown with a goal from Sergey Kornilenko in the final minute of regulation.

The results leaves Spain needing only a tie with Georgia in next Tuesday's qualifier against Georgia in Albacete. EFE