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  • 7 September 2012
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio Municipal de Pasarón, Pontevedra
  • Referee: A. Salmanov
  • • Attendance: 11850

Spain - Saudi Arabia Preview: Newly-crowned European champions prepare for World Cup qualifying with friendly

Spain - Saudi Arabia Preview: Newly-crowned European champions prepare for World Cup qualifying with friendly


La Roja face Georgia on Monday as they prepare their defence of the crown but first comes a non-competitive match against Frank Rijkaard's men


Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba
Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Busquets
Pedro, Torres, Iniesta


Al-Zori, Hawsawi, Al-Mousa, Al-Sharani
Al-Fraidi, Al-Jassim, Ali-Kariri, Al-Shalhoub

Al-Qahtani, Al-Shamrani

The Spain squad are together for their first competitive match since being crowned European champions in Poland and Ukraine this week. But first comes an international friendly against Saudi Arabia, and coach Vicente Del Bosque has made some high profile selections in his 23-man contingent.

Despite only recently returning from a long-term absence due to a broken leg, David Villa makes the squad. However, the fact that he has not seen much first-team action recently will see Chelsea striker Fernando Torres given the nod in attack.

Carles Puyol will not feature as he is still recovering from a fractured cheekbone he suffered on club duty. This will likely see a central defensive partnership of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique at the back.

Del Bosque has adopted a 4-3-3 formation in recent matches, so expect a trio of Xavi, Xabi Alonso, and Sergio Busquets in midfield. Fresh off his recent accolade as Uefa Best Player in Europe Award, Andres Iniesta will feature to the left of Torres in attack, with Barcelona team-mate Pedro also set to start following his impressive start to the season. Usual squad regulars Javi Martinez and Alvaro Negredo have been left out.

World Cup Qualifiers commence this week, but Saudi Arabia have already failed to qualify for the tournament in Brazil, winning just one of their qualifying matches in the Asian section.

  • The last match between the nations was a friendly in 2010 in which Spain came out 3-2 winners over Saudi Arabia. David Villa, Fernando Llorente, and Xabi Alonso bagged the goals.
  • Spain are the only team in history to win three major international tournaments consecutively.
  • The only player to score for Spain against Saudi Arabia in a competitive match is Juanito, who netted in a 1-0 win in the 2002 World Cup.
  • Only two Saudi Arabia players have found the net against Spain in all competitions, Osama Hawsawi and Sultan Al Namare.
  • The coach of the Asian side is Frank Rijkaard, who enjoyed a prosperous spell in Spain with Barcelona from 2003-2008.
  • Saudi Arabia only won one of their 2014 World Cup qualifying matches, a 3-0 win against Thailand.

Players to watch


Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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The Uefa Best Player in Europe Award was presented to the Barcelona star last week, further proving his phenomenal pedigree as a footballer. This will not be his toughest of matches, so expect him to flourish with the space that will likely be available to him.

Osama Hawsawi

Position: Defender

Games: 1

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Hawsawi currently plays for Anderlecht and so will feature in the Champions League this season, which proves he is a player of quality. A defender by trade but he also poses an attacking threat. He even has a goal against Spain on his CV.

Editor's Prediction

The current world and European champions begin their World Cup qualifying campaign against Georgia next week and prepare for their defence against Saudi Arabia, a side which they have a 100% record against in all competitions. With their superb passing and the firepower they have at their disposal, expect Del Bosque's men to make easy work of Frank Rijkaard's outfit.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head


Saudi Arabia


Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Spain ESP
Spain Spain
Saudi Arabia KSA
Saudi Arabia Saudi Arabia

Top 3 Predictions

Spain ESP
3 - 0
Saudi Arabia KSA
Spain ESP
4 - 0
Saudi Arabia KSA
Spain ESP
5 - 0
Saudi Arabia KSA