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WC Qualification Europe

  • October 12, 2012
  • • 19:00
  • • Stadyen Dynama, Minsk
  • Referee: S. Gumienny
  • • Attendance: 28800
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Belarus - Spain Preview: La Roja seek 24th straight qualifying win in Minsk

Belarus - Spain Preview: La Roja seek 24th straight qualifying win in Minsk

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Vicente del Bosque's side will look to secure a convincing victory against the eastern European minnows ahead of Tuesday's encounter with fellow Group I heavyweights France

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

BELARUS

Vyeramko
Marty'vich, Palyakow, Filipenko, Verkho'sov
Drahun, Kislyak
Bardachow, Bressan, A Hleb
Rodionov
SPAIN

Casillas
Arbeloa, Busquets, Ramos, Alba
Xavi, Alonso, Fabregas
Silva, Torres, Iniesta


Belarus midfielders Anton Putsila and Timofei Kalachev will miss Friday's World Cup qualifier against Spain at the Dynama Stadium in Minsk.

The injured duo join forward Leonid Kovel on the sidelines, leaving BATE Borisov's Vitali Rodionov as the only recognised striker in the squad.

Coach Georgy Kondratiev could name up to six players from the BATE side that beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week in his starting line-up, with Aliaksandr Hleb expected to make his first international appearance since February 2011.

Sergio Busquets looks set to start as a makeshift centre-back for Spain, who are without injured Barcelona pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique.

Raul Albiol and Javi Martinez could also provide defensive cover, but coach Vicente del Bosque's training formation on Wednesday had Busquets operating in central defence alongside Sergio Ramos.

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres should start ahead of Roberto Soldado in attack, while playmaker Santi Cazorla may feature following recent impressive performances for Arsenal.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Belarus, ranked 87th in the world, lie bottom of Group I, having lost their first two qualifiers away to Georgia and France respectively.
  • The Eastern European outfit are on a four-match winless run at home (D2, L2).
  • Aliaksandr Hleb (pictured right) spent one season in the Spanish Primera Division, making 19 league appearances for Barcelona in 2008-09.
  • Spain have won their last 23 World Cup and European Championship qualifiers - a run that stretches back to September 2007.
  • La Roja are on a 46-match unbeaten run in World Cup qualification matches. Their last defeat in a World Cup qualifier came away to Denmark in March 1993.
  • Sergio Ramos needs five more caps to become only the seventh Spaniard to make 100 international appearances.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
World Cup Qualifying - UEFA ‎(WCQ)‎ Oct 11, 2013 Spain 2 - Belarus 1
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World Cup Qualifying - UEFA ‎(WCQ)‎ Oct 12, 2012 Belarus 0 - Spain 4
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Iker CasillasGoalkeeper
-Arbeloa
6Jordi AlbaDefender
15Sergio RamosDefender
16BusquetsMidfielder
20Santi CazorlaMidfielder
10Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
14Xabi AlonsoMidfielder
8XaviMidfielder
21David SilvaMidfielder
11PedroStriker
23Pepe ReinaGoalkeeper
-Víctor Valdés
2Raúl Albiol Defender
5JuanfranMidfielder
-Monreal
-Beñat
6Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
4Javi MartínezMidfielder
-Jesús Navas González
9Fernando TorresStriker
7David VillaStriker
-Roberto Soldado
Players to Watch
Renan Bressan
Renan Bressan
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
6 1 0 0
Bressan is a Brazil-born attacking midfielder who competed with his adopted country in the London Olympics. With Belarus likely to field just one striker, their midfield will have to compensate for the lack of numbers up front, meaning the 23-year-old must get the better of Spanish defenders whenever he gets an opportunity to break forward.
Fernando Torres
Fernando Torres
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
1 0 0 0
Fernando Torres appears to be turning the corner at Chelsea after a couple of indifferent years and has made a bright start to the season in England, scoring six goals in 12 appearances this season. With Spain still struggling to settle on a first choice target man up front, a fit and firing Torres will come as a great asset to Del Bosque.
Prediction
Belarus's best hope to get a result is to defend deep and hope a heavy pitch hinders Spain's passing game. The visitors' gifted squad has all bases covered, though, and it is hard to see them faltering here, or, indeed, throughout the rest of their qualifying campaign.
Editor's Prediction
Spain 2

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