World Cup qualifying: Georgia 0 Spain 1
Spain started their trek towards the 2014 World Cup in Brazil with an uninspiring 1-0 win against Georgia on Tuesday.
The defending world and European champions kept the hosts pinned back in their own half for the vast majority of the contest at the Boris Paichadze National Stadium in Tbilisi, but struggled to find a way through their rigid defence.
Georgia defended admirably throughout, but their resistance was broken four minutes from the end by Roberto Soldado, who finished from close range to give Spain a narrow win.
The Valencia man started as the lone striker as Fernando Torres, who captained the team to a 5-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in his 100th cap on Friday, was dropped to the bench.
Spain wasted little time in taking control of possession, but were made to work hard to find an opening by a Georgia team that had no interest in pressing forward.
Chances were few and far between for Vicente Del Bosque's side, with a saved Sergio Ramos header from a corner the best they could muster in a tepid opening 20 minutes.
The visitors only seemed to find space once outside the penalty area, though David Silva almost took advantage with a stinging drive that cannoned off the inside of the post, with Giorgi Loria completely beaten.
Xavi was at the heart of things, first taking aim from 25 yards out and forcing Loria to tip over at full stretch, before playing in Soldado on goal, with Loria again alert to make the save.
Georgia nearly stunned the world's top-ranked team early in the second half when Spain failed to properly defend a rare break forward, which saw Aleksander Amisulashvili strike the base of the post from inside the box.
Spain remained camped around the penalty area, but laboured to find an opening, as they were faced by wave after wave of white shirts determined to hold the score.
However, the home side were handed a blow in the 73rd minute when Loria was forced off after colliding with his own player, with reserve keeper Roin Kvaskhvadze coming on in his place.
And their hearts were broken with four minutes remaining, after lax defending on a cross allowed Soldado enough time to slice home from inside the area.
Georgia attempted to pick themselves up, and even threatened to score with one of the last kicks of the game, but Ramos made a desperate last-ditch block as Spain held on for the win.