Wednesday, December 1

“I’m very ‘happy’ and everything is going to be fine”

  • If Spain scores six points against Greece and Sweden, it will be in Qatar 2022. If not, it must match what the Swedes do against Georgia and then beat them in Seville

  • Luis Enrique has many casualties for these games: Marcos Llorente, Ferran Torres, Oyarzabal, Pedri, Gerard Moreno, Ansu Fati, Eric García and Yéremi Pino

Spain life is at stake to be the world from Qatar and, as is often the case in these situations, Luis Enrique show off his most outspoken profile to attract media attention and free players from the spotlight. “I am very happy, everything is going to go very well, I am very optimistic and there will be time to think about ugly things,” he warned at the pre-match press conference with somewhat forced enthusiasm.

In the atmosphere the pressure is palpable, since Spain has no margin of error. She is second in the group, two points behind Sweden and with two games to play. The last being a Spain-Sweden who can decide everything. But this day the Swedes receive the accessible Georgia (18:00) and those of Luis Enrique must carry out a complicated game in Athens (20.45) already knowing the result that the Scandinavians have achieved.

“Blessed pressure”

“I see you worried about the pressure. I was a player for 15 years and a coach for 12 years. Blessed pressure. Wonderful! The problem is when you don’t have it. I put up with it since I was 18 years old. I am going, my rhythm is going, ”said the coach with nervous laughs.

“I’ve been a player for 15 years and a coach for 12. Blessed pressure. What a marvel! The problem is when you don’t have it. I have put up with it since I was 18 years old.

Luis Enrique, Spanish coach

Beyond the pressure, the Asturian has seen how the list of casualties multiplied exponentially in the last day of the League. Marcos Llorente, Ferran Torres, Mikel Oyarzabal, Pedri and Gerard Moreno It was confirmed absences before the call for these two crucial games was known. And they were joined between Saturday and Sunday Ansu Fati, Eric García, Yéremi Pino… and Mikel merino arrives between cottons. That is, the entire offensive arsenal, and key pieces of the defensive fabric. They enter to supply the latter Raúl de Tomás, Diego Llorente and Brais Mendez.

The good news is that they come back Pau Torres, Gayá, Jordi Alba, Morata and Dani Olmo. In addition to the appearance, many calls later, of Real Madrid players such as Dani Carvajal, that points to headline passing Azpilicueta to the axis as central, and Brahim Diaz, ceded by whites to Milan.

Spain will be in Qatar If you add up the six points that will be played against Greece and Sweden. Precisely the two rivals they encountered and who have put them in this tricky situation: a 1-1 draw with the Hellenes in Granada and a 2-1 defeat in Stockholm.

Greece still has options, being third with 9 points, for Spain’s 13 and Greece’s 15. The first of the group seals their ticket for the World Cup and the second will play the repechage. So those of Luis Enrique will find a rival with a knife between their teeth that must beat them to keep their options to go to Qatar. In addition, the game of the last day will also be played at home against the weak Kosovo. So if they beat Spain they will have real options to get into the World Cup play-off.

Despite being directed by a technician trained in the school of the Ajax, the dutch John van’t Schip, Greece’s matches yield short results due to their commitment to defending three centrals (5-3-2). Even so, he likes to have the ball, but it lacks stuck up. Which kept us from beating the Swedes (2-1) in Athens in September.

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Bad referee memory

Therefore, the match is a ‘match-ball’ against for both teams. They are only worth winning because anything else takes them away from the World Cup, although there would still be the bullet of the play-off. The party will be led by a Pole, Szymon Marciniak, who was able to make a career in cycling. Marciniak brings back bad memories, because he whistled at Benito Villamarín 2-3 against England in October 2018, which turned out to be Luis Enrique’s first defeat as coach.

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