World champions Spain will hope to take further control of Group I by recording a victory over the second seeded Czechs...
|Spain: Casillas; Ramos, Pique, Albiol, Capdevila; Xavi, Busquets, Alonso; Silva, Villa, Iniesta
| Czech Republic: Cech; Pospech, Hubnik, Hubschman, M. Kadlec; Plasil, Polak, Rosicky, Pudil; Necid, V. Kadlec
- Spain have won five of their 13 games against Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic, drawing once but losing seven. They have won four of their five fixtures on home soil, though.
- A shock 1-0 reverse against Switzerland during the World Cup had critics questioning Spain's credentials, but they've since won their last nine internationals.
- Should David Villa find the net on Friday night, he'll become Spain's outright leading scorer in international competition. Presently he has 44 goals; the same tally as Raul.
- Only three members of Vicente del Bosque's selection play their football outside of the Primera Division. Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Fernando Torres (Chelsea) and David Silva (Manchester City) all feature in the English Premier League.
- This encounter will be played at the Estadio Nuevo Los Carmenes, which was officially opened when Real Madrid met Bayer Leverkusen in a friendly. The Spaniards won, but it was a Czech, Peter Dubovsky, who scored the game's only goal.
- The Czech Republic lie second in Group I boasting six points, their only blemish coming when they surprisingly lost 1-0 at home to Lithuania.
- February 24, 1988 was a memorable date for the Czechoslovakian football team as they recorded a 2-1 success against Spain in Malaga; their only victory on Spanish soil.
- A 3-2 victory for Czechoslovakia in a UEFA European Championship qualifier in Prague on November 14, 1990 was the last time a Czech side beat Spain. They've failed to win either of the last two meetings.
- None of the present Czech squad currently play in Spain, though Girondins de Bordeaux midfielder Jaroslav Plasil has experience of the Primera Division with Osasuna.
- The Czechs were finalists at Euro 96, their first major finals as a unique entity. Since then, they have only qualified for the World Cup of 2006 and Euro 2008, crashing out at the group stage on each occasion.
June 8, 1997
: Spain 1-0 Czech Republic
Javier Clemente's Spain took a step closer to World Cup 98 qualification with a 1-0 success in Valladolid. The only goal of the match was scored by Fernando Hierro from the penalty spot four minutes before the interval.