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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 11, 2013
  • • 4:00 PM
  • • Iberostar Estadi, Palma de Mallorca
  • Referee: B. Nijhuis
  • • Attendance: 22900

World Cup Qualifying Preview: Spain - Belarus

World Cup Qualifying Preview: Spain - Belarus


Vicente del Bosque's men are within touching distance of the World Cup and a win against the basement side would leave them requiring just a point from their final game.

Spain can take another step toward the World Cup when it hosts Belarus in their qualification game on Friday.

The reigning world and European champions are yet to confirm their place at Brazil 2014, but victory in Mallorca would leave them needing just a point from their final Group I match, which is against Georgia next week, to secure automatic qualification ahead of second-place France.

The two nations are level at the top of the group with 14 points, but Spain has a superior goal difference, while Les Bleus have played a game more, meaning Vicente del Bosque's men are almost assured of being able to defend their crown in Brazil next year.

Spain will fancy its chances of putting itself on the verge of progression, as Belarus sits at the bottom of Group I with just four points from its seven matches. Georgi Kondratiev's side has only won once during this qualifying campaign and was beaten 4-0 when the two sides met in Minsk in October 2012.

Spain has called up Swansea striker Michu and Sevilla defender Alberto Moreno to their squad for the first time to replace the injured David Villa and Jordi Alba, and the former has spoken of his desire to be involved on Friday.

"For any footballer, playing for the national team is as good as it gets, it's the biggest achievement of my career," Michu said. "I was a bit nervous coming here but once you get on to the pitch everything is much easier.

"Right now I am just enjoying the training sessions. For me it's a gift being here with some of the world's best players and I am ready to play wherever the coach sees fit."

Belarus boss Kondratiev has seen his side conced the most goals in the group with 14, but he insisted his side is traveling to Spain intent on playing attacking football.

"We are going to try not going on the defensive, not to 'park the bus', as they say," Kondratiev said. "We will try to play our game based on rapid counterattacks.

"We will try to play like we did against France, which was a 3-4-3 formation, not 4-5-1 as some said, as our fullbacks are very attacking and are really like forwards."

Belarus will be without star player Aleksandr Hleb through suspension, though, while Edgar Olekhnovich is unlikely to be involved due to injury.

Del Bosque, meanwhile, has minor doubts over Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta, after the Barcelona stars were not involved in training on Tuesday.

Last Five Matches

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Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Spain ESP
Spain Spain
Belarus BLR
Belarus Belarus

Top 3 Predictions

Spain ESP
4 - 0
Belarus BLR
Spain ESP
3 - 0
Belarus BLR
Spain ESP
5 - 0
Belarus BLR