Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque believes his side's hard-fought 1-0 victory in Georgia is just another example of how the difference in quality between sides at international level is decreasing.
The world champions had to wait until the 86th minute to make the breakthrough when Roberto Soldado swept home Cesc Fabregas' cross and Del Bosque claimed that having studied Georgia, he wasn't surprised how difficult Temuri Ketsbaia's men were to beat.
He told the Spanish Football Federation's website: "I want to congratulate Georgia for their extraordinary performance. They put us in a lot of difficulty with their enthusiasm and their ability to defend all our attacks through both the centre and the wings.
"In this sense, it was not an easy match and they made it difficult for us, but we won three important points. We knew they would be organised, defend well and that they have options up front with strength that we had to be careful of. It wasn't through courtesy that I spoke about them being a strong rival beforehand.
"The differences in football are getting smaller every day. We have to play a qualification campaign and we can't think about anything other than just qualifying."
The differences in football are getting smaller every day.
Del Bosque did manage to make a telling contribution with his substitutions, though, as he kept faith with Soldado while also introducing Fabregas and Pedro, who combined to set up the Valencia striker for the winner. "We had various options to try and break down their defence and it is true that Cesc and Pedro moved well between the lines, with intelligence, and in the end found the gap," he said.
Soldado, meanwhile, was delighted to have made the most of a rare start in the national team and to have scored the winner after missing one of Spain's only previous clear-cut chances just before half-time.
"The important thing is the victory, that is what we were looking for and thanks to God I was able to score the goal that has given us three points," Soldado said. "It is important to begin the qualification towards the World Cup in Brazil like this.
"It was difficult, especially to find spaces. The team was very quick in our circulation of the ball but they almost never moved, they were like a wall and never left their area. I had already missed one earlier and I hadn't forgotten about it so it was important to find another chance to score the goal that we were all looking for."