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Greece v Spain Live Commentary, 11/11/2021

FT
0 - 1
GRE
ESP
Pablo Sarabia (26 pen)
Olympiako Stadio Spyros Louis

Commentary

Thanks for joining our commentary this evening. Until next time, goodbye.
Spain face Sweden in a showdown in their final Group B qualifying match in Seville on Sunday. They know a draw will be enough to secure an automatic berth into the 2022 World Cup. Greece sign off their campaign at home to Kosovo on the same day.
Spain secure a huge result in their bid to qualify automatically for the 2022 World Cup, defeating Greece 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium. Sweden's defeat at the hands of Georgia presented La Roja with the chance to leapfrog them into top spot in Group B with a victory. Pablo Sarabia ensured that his side seized the opportunity by scoring the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after Inigo Martinez was brought down in the box. Greece's defeat ended their hopes of qualifying for the competition, failing to put sufficient pressure on the visitors.
90' + 5' FULL-TIME: GREECE 0-1 SPAIN
90' + 4' OVER! Olmo threads a throughball into the path of Rodrigo in the Greece box. He turns way from Vlachodimos, who does well to avoid bringing down the forward. Rodrigo spins on to his left foot and goes for a strike that is deflected over the bar.
G. Tzavellas
Yellow Card
Greece
90' + 2' Tzavellas catches Fornals with an outstretched boot and goes into the book. Spain get a free-kick and will have the chance to take time off the clock.
90' There will be five minutes of added time.
Azpilicueta
Íñigo Martínez
Spain
89' Martinez is forced off in the closing stages of the game and is replaced by Azpilicueta at the back.
88' Simon has to be alert to race off his line and clear a throughball from Mantolas away from Tzolis on the charge.
87' La Roja are desperately trying to calm proceedings by knocking the ball around the pitch. Greece are trying to press high upfield, but the visitors are working it around them at the moment.
86' Sweden fans will be desperately cheering on Greece in the closing stages. An equaliser would leave the group in the hands of the Swedes as Spain play them in the final match of qualifying.
85' Fornals drives down the right flank and fires a low cross into the box for Olmo, but he fails to pick out his team-mate, narrowly over-hitting his delivery.
83' BLOCK! Olmo works his way into the box from the right flank and offloads towards Rodrigo, but the forward sees his left-footed strike blocked by Goutas.
81' Spain are on the back foot here and are paying the price for not putting the game away when they had complete control.
79' CHANCE! GREECE SHOULD BE LEVEL! Tsimikas floats a perfect free-kick into the box from the left flank. Tzavellas rises highest in the box to attack the delivery, only to glance his header agonisingly wide of the right post. Enrique and his team can breathe a sigh of relief.
D. Pelkas
A. Bouchalakis
Greece
78' Bouchalakis makes way for Pelkas in the Greece midfield.
Carvajal
Yellow Card
Spain
78' Carvajal brings down Limnios with a poor challenge and goes into the book. Greece have a free-kick in a useful position on the left flank.
77' Martinez has to be on his mettle at the near post to divert a dangerous cross from Tsimikas away from Tzolis.
75' Rodrigo collects down the left flank and beats the offside trap. He has options in support, but plays his cutback straight to Androutsos, spurning a golden opportunity.
74' OVER! Rodri loses patience with Spain's slow build-up and attempts an ambitious effort from 25 yards that he curls harmlessly over the bar.
72' Gaya is played into space down the left flank by Koke, but there is a reason why he has acres of room as the flag goes up for offside.
70' Simon takes a risk at the back with a pass out from the back as he is hurried by Douvikas. The Spain keeper puts his offload straight out of play for a throw-in.
68' WIDE! Olmo releases Rodrigo in space on the right flank and he cuts inside to shoot on his left foot, only to drag his efort wide of the right post.
D. Limnios
D. Giannoulis
Greece
67' Giannoulis is withdrawn for the hosts and is replaced by Limnios.
66' Tzvellas has to act in the Greece box to head a dangerous cross from Olmo away from the lurking presence of Rodrigo. It would have a free header for the Leeds forward had the defender not intervened.
Pablo Fornals
Álvaro Morata
Spain
65' Fornals enters the contest in the final third to replace Morata.
Sergio Busquets
Gavi
Spain
65' Gavi is withdrawn for the visitors from the middle of the park and is replaced by Busquets.
64' Gaya works a ball over the top for Rodrigo and he chases it down before sending a low cross into the box. Goutas blocks it, but Spain claim it was with his hand. It's all moot in the end as the flag is raised for offside against the forward.
62' Gavi requires the Spain medical staff to enter the pitch so he can receive treatment. It seems a bit over the top for the amount of contact that he received.
61' Bouchalakis catches Gavi with a stray arm and the midfielder hits the deck. There was little contact, but the teenager remains down.
60' Spain are not quite enjoying the dominance of possession they had in the first half. Greece are growing into the game and as long it remains 1-0 there is hope for the home side.
D. Goutas
Yellow Card
Greece
59' Goutas slides in hard on Olmo and is booked for his late challenge.
Rodrigo
Raúl de Tomás
Spain
57' Rodrigo replaces De Tomas in the final third for La Roja.
Dani Olmo
Pablo Sarabia
Spain
57' Sarabia is withdrawn for the visitors and is replaced by Olmo.
K. Tsimikas
Yellow Card
Greece
54' Tsimikas goes into the book for a challenge on Sarabia.
54' WIDE! Tzolis latches on to an offload from Giannoulis and cuts inside from the left flank. He tries to fire his effort past Martinez, but the defender diverts it wide of the left post.
52' Tsimikas tries to send an early long ball forward from a free-kick to catch out the Spain defence. However, it hits off the surface and away from Douvikas into the hands of Simon.
50' Sarabia floats the resulting corner into the box from the right flank on his left foot, but the home side are able to clear their lines as Goutas heads away.
49' De Tomas collects on the left flank and cuts inside to shoot on his right foot. His effort deflects off Goutas and travels wide of the target for a corner.
Pablo Sarabia
Yellow Card
Spain
48' Sarabia catches Tsimikas late on the ankle with a late lunge and goes into the book.
46' We're back under way at the Olympic Stadium.
T. Douvikas
V. Pavlidis
Greece
46' Douvikas enters the action at the break to replace Pavlidis. Schip replaces his forward line for the second half.
C. Tzolis
G. Masouras
Greece
46' Masouras is withdrawn at the break for Tzolis.
Greece have offered very little in the final third and their hopes of qualifying for the World Cup are over unless they can conjure something special in the second half. However, Spain have controlled possession with ease and look to be focused on their task of capitalising on Sweden's defeat.
Spain hold a 1-0 lead over Greece at the break in their World Cup qualifying clash. The visitors took the lead from the penalty spot through Pablo Sarabia after Inigo Martinez was brought down by Dimitrios Giannoulis. Alvaro Morata was denied a second by a fine save from Odisseas Vlachodimos, which would have capped a dominant first-half performance from La Roja.
45' + 2' HALF-TIME: GREECE 0-1 SPAIN
45' There will be two minutes of added time.
45' Morata cuts in from the left flank and tries to arc a cross to the back post. Sarabia is there to steer it towards De Tomas, but Tsimikas clears the danger.
43' Spain have made over 400 passes after 43 minutes of the contest. Enrique will be thrilled with their control of possession.
41' Sarabia drops his shoulder and cuts in from the right flank. He tries to slide in Morata, but Tsimikas makes a vital interception at the back.
40' Greece are hanging on at the back, but Spain are looking dangerous every time they move forward. A second goal would be a huge for La Roja before the break.
38' BLOCK! Gaya raids down the left flank with menace and clips a cross into the box. Sarabia cannot bring it down to fire at goal and loses out. However, Rodri collects on the edge of the box, but sees his left-footed drive charged down by Goutas.
36' SAVE! Vlachodimos keeps Greece in the game with a fine stop to deny Morata. The forward gets the better of Goutas down the left-inside channel and bears down on goal. He fires hard towards the target on his left foot, but the Greece keeper blocks his effort onto the bar and wide of the target.
E. Siopis
Yellow Card
Greece
33' Siopis goes into the book for dissent and will now be banned for Greece's next match.
32' Morata wins possession on the edge of the Greece box and offloads to De Tomas. The forward tries to pick out Koke in the area, but Tsimikas reacts to clear ahead of the midfielder.
30' Mantolas tries to release Pavlidis down the left flank behind the Spain defensive line, but the forward moves a fraction too soon and is caught offside.
29' SAVE! Gaya takes possession 30 yards from goal and lines up an ambitious strike. He sends a tame effort straight into the hands of Vlachodimos, easing the pressure on the Greece backline.
28' De Tomas twists and turns down the left flank and delivers a cross into the box for Koke to attack, but Tzavellas reacts to head over his own bar.
Pablo Sarabia
Penalty Goal
Spain
26' GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!!! SARABIA CONVERTS FROM 12 YARDS!!!! 1-0 SPAIN!!! La Roja take the lead as Sarabia holds his nerve from the spot. The forward strikes his left-footed strike away from Vlachodimos into the bottom-left corner, dispatching his effort with ease.
24' PENALTY TO SPAIN! Martinez is bundled over the in the Greece box by Giannoulis as the duo compete for a loose ball. The referee points straight to the spot despite the appeals of the hosts.
23' OVER! Gaya is played into space down the left flank and he sends a dangerous offload into the box. Koke nudges it into the path of De Tomas, who fires at goal, but his effort is diverted over the top by Tzavellas.
21' DISALLOWED GOAL! Androutsos sends a throughball into the path of Masouras in the Spain half. He races into the box before dispatching a strike into the top-right corner. The forward wheels away, but sees the offside flag correctly raised by the linesman.
20' De Tomas claims that he is clipped by Androutsos with a strong challenge down the left flank. The referee points only for a goal-kick, despite the appeals of the visitors.
19' Spain are dominating possession and are moving the ball extremely well around the Greece half. However, they have lacked a clinical edge in the final third to take the lead.
17' CHANCE! Koke works the ball through to De Tomas in the Greece box with only Vlachodimos to beat. However, he dwells on his shot and is dispossessed by Goutas before he can pull the trigger. A wasted opening for La Roja.
15' Koke swings a cross into the box from the right flank, but his delivery fails to beat the first defender.
14' Giannoulis brings down Koke with a mistimed lunge and hands Spain a free-kick in a useful position on the right flank.
13' A mis-kick from Koke almost allows Pavlidis to break in behind the Spain defence, but Martinez reacts to halt the progress of the forward before regaining possession.
12' Spain work the ball in the final third before Morata attempts to clip a cross to the back post that sails out for a goal-kick.
10' Spain are attempting to get their foot on the ball to put the home side under pressure, but La Roja have not been able to make any meaningful penetration.
8' Masouras puts Martinez under pressure chasing a long ball over the top from Goutas, forcing the defender to clear into touch.
6' Morata tries to send a low ball through the Greece defence for the run of De Tomas. The forward makes a move, but the offload has too much pace allowing Vlachodimos to make a comfortable claim.
4' Morata takes possession down the left flank and surges past Androutsos. He fires a low cross into the box that Sarabia tries to connect with, but it strikes the side of his left foot and travels wide.
3' Tsimikas raids down the left-inside channel and clips a cross into the box for Masouras to attack, but he nods a tame effort straight at Simon.
1' We're under way in this World Cup qualifying clash.
Spain have only kept two clean sheets in their last eight matches in all competitions. Simon will need a strong performance between the posts tonight for La Roja.
Spain have made six changes from the side that was beaten in the Nations League final by France. Azpilicueta drops to the bench in favour of Carvajal. Martinez and Gaya also get the nod in the defence to replace Eric Garcia and Marcos Alonso, who are not present in the squad. Ferran Torres is sidelined due to injury and is replaced by De Tomas and Morata is in for Mikel Oyarzabal as the spearhead of the attack. Koke slots into the middle of the park for Busquets.
Greece have made three changes to their side from their defeat to Sweden last time out. Pantelis Chatzidiakos is suspended for the contest after his dismissal last time out, while Konstantinos Mavropanos misses out due to injury. Tzavellas and Goutas come into the fold to replace the duo in the backline. Anastasios Bakasetas is also absent for Greece and is replaced by Mantolas in the middle of the park.
SPAIN SUBS: David de Gea, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pau Torres, Sergio Busquets, Carlos Soler, Pablo Fornals, Brais Mendez, Robert Sanchez, Brahim Diaz, Jordi Alba, Rodrigo Moreno, Dani Olmo.
SPAIN (4-3-3): Unai Simon; Daniel Carvajal, Inigo Martinez, Aymeric Laporte, Jose Gaya; Gavi, Rodri, Koke; Raúl de Tomas, Alvaro Morata, Pablo Sarabia.
GREECE SUBS: Manolis Saliakas, Sotiris Alexandropoulos, Anastasios Douvikas, Christos Tzolis, Georgios Kyriakopoulos, Alexandros Paschalakis, Georgios Athanasiadis, Dimitrios Pelkas, Dimitris Limnios, Marios Vrousai, Gerasimos Mitoglou.
GREECE (3-5-2): Odisseas Vlachodimos; Dimitrios Goutas, Georgios Tzavellas, Konstantinos Tsimikas; Thanasis Androutsos, Manolis Siopis, Andreas Bouchalakis, Petros Mantalos, Dimitrios Giannoulis; Giorgos Masouras, Vangelis Pavlidis.
Spain have been handed a huge opportunity this evening to move above Sweden into top spot in Group B. Sweden were beaten by Georgia in their qualifying contest, presenting a chance for La Roja to leapfrog them by a point with a victory. Luis Enrique's men were not in qualifying action in October due to their exploits in the Nations League where they were beaten by France in the final. They did hammer Georgia in their last qualifying match 4-0 after losing to Sweden on the road. Spain need to display the same clinical edge to capitalise on their opening to potentially secure an automatic berth at the World Cup.
Greece cannot advance automatically to the World Cup, but the path to the second round of qualifying could be open if they beat Spain tonight. John van 't Schip's men are four points off the pace of Spain in Group B ahead of the contest after beating Georgia and losing to Greece in the last round of matches. They will need to raise the level of their game against La Roja to give them hope of making a surge into the top two.
Good evening and welcome to the live commentary of the World Cup qualifying clash between Greece and Spain at the Olympic Stadium.