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March 23, 2013
• Estadio Municipal El Molinón, Gijón
Referee: O. Hațegan
• Attendance: 27637
Sergio Ramos 49'
T. Pukki 79'
That's all from me for tonight guys and girls. Tune in to the final minutes of France vs. Georgia in our Live Match Centre to see if les Bleus will go top of Group I. Good bye!
FULL-TIME: SPAIN 1-1 FINLAND Mixu Paatelainen's side shocked the reigning champions with a late equaliser in Gijon to secure a huge point in Group I. Teemu Pukki scored the goal for Finland in the 79th minute to make it 1-1, after Sergio Ramos had given the home side the lead on his 100th appearance for his country. Few will have predicted this scoreline before kick-off!
90' + 5'
But Finland clear it away and the referee blows his whistle to mark the end of the game!
90' + 4'
90' + 4'
Spain have their 19th corner of the game...
90' + 2'
FINLAND HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN IT!! Hetemaj is played in on the left-hand side of the Spain box after a quick counter attack from the visitors but he hesitates - which allows Pique time to recover - when really he should have hit an early shot at goal.
90' + 1'
Yellow Card Niklas Moisander
90' + 1'
Yellow Card David Silva
90' + 1'
We are into added time here...
HANDBAGS IN GIJON!! Maenpaa has the ball in his hands following a scramble inside the Finland box but Silva still tries to kick it. Finland's players a furious at this, and quickly surround the Spain midfielder to make their feelings known. The referee eventually breaks the melee up and hands Silva a yellow card for his antics, while Moisander also finds his way into the man in yellow's notebook.
NEGREDO HAS ANOTHER CHANCE!! Iniesta and Mata work some magic on the edge of the Finland box before moving the ball out to Arbeloa on the right. His cross to Negredo at the near post looks set to be flicked into the back of the net by the striker, before Moisander dives in to deflect the ball over his own crossbar.
NEGREDO HEADS JUST WIDE!! The Sevilla striker has a glorious chance to put Spain back in front but his effort goes just the wrong side of the post. The pass to set him up from Mata was fantastic, but Negredo just couldn't get the direction on the ball to send it on target.
Meanwhile over in France, Les Bleus are beating Georgia 3-0 which means they will go top of Group I if the score remains 1-1 here in Gijon.
Yellow Card Niki Maenpaa
Two corners in quick succession for the home team amount to nothing. Pique heads high over from the first, while Silva's cross from the second is poor and runs out for a throw-in to Finland on the far side.
The Barca left-back looks just about okay to continue here. Spain are going in search of a winner with under 10 minutes left on the clock...
And to make matters worse Alba has just pulled up for Spain. They will hope that is not serious, having just made their third substitution!
Assist Alexander Ring
Goal Teemu Pukki
FINLAND HAVE EQUALISED!! PUKKI SCORES!! The Schalke forward times his run brilliantly to split the Spanish defensive pair of Pique and Ramos and stroke a cross from the left past Victor Valdes to make it 1-1. We have a shock on the cards in Gijon!
The pace of the game has diminished slightly in the past 10 minutes or so. Finland have barely posed a threat going forward, while Spain look very comfortable with their lead.
And Spain are set to make their third and final change. Juan Mata is coming on for Fabregas. This will be the Chelsea attacker's 53rd appearance of the season for club and country!
Silva sweeps a cross to the back post towards Pedro but he cannot quite get to the ball ahead of Arkivuo, as the Finland full-back reacts well to the danger to head the ball away.
STAT: Spain haven't played a World Cup qualifying game without Xavi or Xabi Alonso since October 2005, against San Marino. Huge stat that one!
Good defending from Ramos! Spain are forced into a bit of play in their own penalty area after Sparv broke down the left and crossed to Pukki. The Finland striker took a touch to control the ball rather than hitting it first time, and this allowed Ramos to nip in and steal possession.
Finland make their first change of the evening as their veteran midfielder and former Tottenham bench-warmer Teemu Tainio is replaced by Tim Sparv.
Fabregas dinks a cross towards Negredo from the left-hand side but Maenpaa is out off his line quickly to steal the ball away from the Spain sub.
The 27-year-old has been in brilliant form for his club Sevilla this season, and has scored 15 times in 26 appearances in La Liga.
Spain make another substitution as Villa is replaced by Alvaro Negredo.
Ramos is down inside the Finland box after clashing with Toivio while connecting with Alba's deep cross from the left. Spain's latest centurion is okay to continue after a visit from the physio though.
VILLA CURLS OVER!! The former Sporting Gijon forward fails to test Maenpaa from the free kick as his shot misses the target by a couple of yards. How he would love to score on his return to El Molinon!
Free kick to Spain. 25 yards out. Just right of centre. Lovely position for a strike at goal...
PUKKI RACES INTO THE SPAIN HALF AND HAS A SHOT!! The Schalke striker looks to be in behind Pique, but the Barcelona defender catches up with him and puts enough pressure on him to put him off as he shoots at goal.
Spain should have had a penalty a few moments ago! Fabregas was knocked to the floor by Ring inside the Finland box but the referee waved play on!
RAMOS SLAMS A SHOT WIDE!! The Spain defender has his sights on a second goal! He and Pique are pushing higher and higher up the pitch as FInland retreat into their own shell, and it allows Ramos space and time to set himself and smash an effort inches wide of the left-hand post.
Despite some questionable defending from Finland's Moisander, Spain do not add to their tally from the corner. The Ajax centre-back was nowhere to be seen as Ramos headed them in front a few minutes ago and he has just as absent there as Pique met the set piece.
Fabregas and Arbeloa link well on the right and eventually win a corner after the Spain right-back's cross is knocked behind by Arkivuo.
And now the fans in Gijon are treating Spain's players to chants of "Oooollleee!!" every time they complete a pass. I'm not sure they deserve that quite yet! It's only 1-0!
The crowd are getting hysterical here as Spain attack in search of a second! Iniesta evades a tackle before having a shot from 25 yards but it is blocked on its way to goal by Moisander.
Del Bosque will be very relieved at that opening goal, as Finland's defence had looked remarkably stubborn in the first half. The floodgates could open now. Spain have seen so much of the ball in this game.
Assist David Silva
Goal Sergio Ramos
GOALLLL!!! RAMOS SCORES ON HIS 100TH APPEARANCE!! The Real Madrid centre-back heads Spain into the lead from a corner to mark his century for the national side in fine style.
Silva ghosts past/through two challenges on the right before feeding a pass to Villa. The former Valencia attacker hits an instinctive shot at goal but it swings off target.
The home team have made a change at the break. Pedro is replacing Santi Cazorla. The Barcelona attacker has scored nine goals in his last six games for the national team. Will he carry on his fine form for La Roja this evening? Let me know your thoughts @charliefscott.
Spain get the second half underway...
HALF-TIME: SPAIN 0-0 FINLAND The reigning world champions have had so much of the ball but they are yet to find a breakthrough against Finland in Gijon. A deflected effort from Iniesta that forced Maenpaa to adjust to keep out is the closest they have come to scoring, while Finland's only chance of the game fell to Eremenko who hammered a shot wide from long range.
And there is the half-time whistle!
Spain switch the play well from left to right but Arbeloa's header back from the byline is cleared away by the visitors. There should have been Spanish players attacking that!
A vital block from Toivio concedes another corner to Spain, but they again fail to prove a threat from the set piece. That was their ninth corner of the game and they have only produced one decent chance from any of those, when the centurion Ramos headed wide early on.
GREAT SAVE FROM MAENPAA!! The Finland goalkeeper has to adjust mid-dive to keep out Iniesta's effort from 30 yards after it took a deflection on its way through the crowded penalty area. That was a top save from the VVV-Venlo player.
Arbeloa tries to curl a cross onto the head of Fabregas as he lurks on the penalty spot, but Moisander is able to get to the ball ahead of the Barcelona man and the Spanish attack breaks down.
STAT: NINE. The number of Finland outfield players inside their own penalty area as Iniesta just tried to shoot.
Fabregas wants a corner, what would be Spain's seventh of the match, after he flicks the ball off Raitala's legs and behind but the referee strangely opts to award a goal kick for the away side.
Finland are camped in their own half as the first half wears on. It is making life difficult for Spain as they work the ball to the edge of the Finland box but then find themselves faced with a wall of white.
SIlva has an attempt at goal from 20 yards for La Roja but it is deflected behind off the shoulder of Toivio. Spain again waste the corner though, as Finland are able to head the set piece away.
Spain squander a chance to test Finland from a corner as Ramos is penalised for climbing over the back of Joona Toivio.
DECENT EFFORT FROM EREMENKO! The Rubin Kazan man pushes forward from his holding midfield role to hammer a shot at goal from distance. His driven strike swerves the wrong side of the post though, and the score remains 0-0.
Alba and Arbeloa are enjoying themselves for La Roja in the opening half an hour. Both full-backs are hitting the byline with an alarming regularity as Finland struggle to get out of their own half. Neither have had to do anything defensively so far.
CAZORLA WASTES A GREAT CHANCE!! The ball runs to the midfielder after a cross is deflected into his path but his first time effort is high and wide, which is a shame as Maenpaa had been pulled out of position by the initial cross.
STAT: Finland's last win over Spain was a 2-0 success in a World Cup qualifier all the way back in June 1969.
Maenpaa beats away Cazorla's shot! The Arsenal maestro cuts in from the right and unleashes a strike at goal but Finland's goalkeeper is equal to it and parries it away to safety.
Iniesta fires straight at Maenpaa! The Barca midfielder finds a yard of space to get a shot off just outside the Finland box but his effort flies into the arms of the away team's goalkeeper.
Don't forget guys and girls you can get in touch with me at any point tonight by tweeting to @charliefscott. I'd love to hear your thoughts on Fabregas' return as a No. 9 or the fact Ramos is now a centurion. Or even predictions for the final score!
Iniesta has produced some marvellous touches in the opening 17 minutes in Gijon. The latest one plays Silva in on the right-hand side of the Finland box, but the Manchester City attacker's pullback is intercepted by Teemu Tainio on the edge of the penalty area.
I feel for Teemu Pukki tonight. The Finland forward strikes a forlorn figure here as his team-mates struggle to support him in attack. Whenever Maenpaa has got the ball he has looked to launch it up to the Schalke striker but even when he does win the ball none of his team-mates are anywhere near him!
STAT: Spain are on an 18-match unbeaten run (W14, D4) stretching back to November 2011.
Fabregas wastes a corner for Spain as Maenpaa rushes from his line and catches the ball on the penalty spot.
David Silva, David Villa and Alba produce a mirage of backheels and flicks to bamboozle Raitala on the left but Alba could not quite control the ball in his stride as he looked to burst through on goal.
Vicente del Bosque's side are looking for Alba at every opportunity when they attack. The Barcelona left-back has clearly got the beating of his opponent Raitala when it comes to pace and his team-mates have recognised that.
Spain win the first corner of the game after Kasper Hamalainen deflects the ball behind following nice interplay between Iniesta and Fabregas.
A good tackle from Jukka Raitala stops Andres Iniesta in his tracks on the left, but the Finland right-back is sloppy with his pass out of defence and it goes straight to Sergio Busquets in the centre circle.
Finland have a free kick in their own half. They will be delighted at that! It gives them a chance to slow things down after a very fast start from their opponents.
STAT: Just the seven Barcelona players in Spain's starting XI this evening. That, my friends, is a record. No other club has ever provided so many players for a single Spain line-up.
Spain have started supremely here in Gijon! Finland are already resorting to a very deep defensive line as La Roja try and play in the overlapping Jordi Alba on the left.
MOISANDER NEARLY SENDS THE BALL PAST HIS OWN GOALKEEPER! The Ajax centre-back deflects Fabregas' cross from the right towards the top left corner of his own goal to force a fine save from Niki Maenpaa!
THE FALSE NINE IS BACK!! Cesc Fabregas heads Spain's three-pronged attack tonight as he reprises the role that saw English media-types scratching their heads in dismay at Euro 2012.
Finland get the ball rolling to start the first half...
The teams are out at the Estadio Municipal El Molinon in Gijon, and the Spain team are currently being applauded as the Spanish national anthem rings around the ground.
Finland (4-2-3-1): Maenpaa; Raitala, Toivio, Moisander, Arkivuo; Ring, Tainio; Eremenko, Hetemaj, Hamalainen; Pukki
Spain (4-3-3): Valdes; Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba; Iniesta, Busquets, Cazorla; Villa, Cesc, Silva
You've had a taster, how about I give you the rest of the Spain team?
Sergio Ramos becomes the youngest player to reach 100 caps in the history of European football by starting for Spain tonight. The record was previously held by Lukas Podolski.
WE HAVE A MILESTONE...
My name is Charlie Scott and I'll be bringing you live updates from the match in Gijon as it unfolds. As always, you can get in touch with me at any point during the game, by posting in the comments box to the right or sending your thoughts to @charliefscott on Twitter.
Finland, meanwhile, are rooted to the bottom of the group having picked up just a single point, but they have only played twice so far. They lost their first match 1-0 to France in September before drawing 1-1 with Georgia in October.
La Roja sit top of Group I having secured seven points from their opening three games. They have beaten Georgia and Belarus 1-0 and 4-0 respectively, while they also drew 1-1 with France in Madrid back in October.
Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE coverage of this evening's World Cup 2014 qualification match that pits the world and European champions Spain against Finland.
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