Spain wins, leads and caresses the 2022 World Cup

  • The team won (0-1) with a penalty from Sarabia to a Greece that did not create any danger to Unai Simón

  • Luis Enrique’s men are worth a draw against Sweden in Seville on Sunday to be group leaders and qualify directly for the World Cup

Spain won in Greece, with a lone penalty goal from Sarabia and little else, especially in a gruesome second part. A triumph that brought an unexpected reward, the leadership, after the defeat of Sweden on Georgia (2-0), which means that with a tie at Sevilla before the Scandinavians are classified directly for the World Cup 2022.

The good news started for Spain before starting the game with the triumph of Georgia. The coach said that he did not like that the two games were not played at the same time, but fate wanted the inconvenience to become an advantage. Because if the party already had the incentive to win to reach Sevilla with the possibility of snatching the leadership from the Scandinavians, now the victory against the Hellenes had the prize of leadership. An injection of motivation for the players, even if it was not necessary due to the importance of the crash.

And when they took to the field, those of Luis Enrique discovered that they were far superior to the feared Greeks. They handled the first minutes with logical caution, but Greece He left a lot to be desired, especially when it came to putting together a game in attack. They did not reach the area of Unai Simon and that was giving wings to Spain. Luis Enrique had bet on Raúl de Tomás and Sarabia to accompany Morata up, while Rodri was the one chosen to settle the core with the experience of Boil and the impudence of Gavi. The Spaniard volunteered and was very active in the match, and the young Gavi once again showed a better profile than in the Barcelona, with a successful Rodri.

Surprises at eleven

The game could get complicated at 20 minutes, when the Greek scored Masouras, but it was early and was canceled. Spain responded with a shot from RDT two minutes after it crossed. But only four minutes later Íñigo Martínez he was subject to a penalty, which was both good and bad news. The last five penalties were missed, but this time Sarabia took the ball decisively. And the extreme deceived Vlachodimos with a low and crossed shot that put the Spanish ahead. Should have sentenced Morata before the end of the first half, but his shot, after an electric play in the area, ended up hitting the Hellenic goalkeeper on the shoulder.

Luis Enrique opted to keep the block in the second half, while the Hellenic coach changed pairs of strikers, despite the attackers being abandoned due to the incapacity of his midfield. The minutes passed and Unai Simon he was still one more spectator in the game. The Spanish coach asked him to bite up more trying to achieve the second goal and seal the victory, as well deserved as it is transcendent for the group. The indolence of the Greeks had infected the Spaniards, who napped and relaxed their pressure in the rival area. Greece arrived in the 50th minute in a corner that was more symbolic than worrying, but that helped Luis Enrique to activate changes and put a nerve in front of him with Rodrigo and Dani Olmo. Sarabia and RDT were leaving, who had been the most incisive of the attacking triplet.

Spain, napping

Greece was far from being a fierce team as expected, not even the tough rival it was when they dominated continental football with their bolt and solidarity. This team is neither straightforward in attacking football nor does it play with a knife between its teeth. Fornals supplied a Morata coarse and Busquets he shielded the spinal cord, mounting a trivot with Rodri and Boil, when entering through a Gavi that he left dizzy. Spain was content with little, trying to ensure the victory against a sterile team like the Greek. But the Hellenes, with the changes, tried to increase the intensity, which caused the roar of a stand that was also far from being hell.

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The second part was difficult to digest, without occasions due to the lack of local quality and the lack of visitor ambition. Luis Enrique opted to defend himself with the ball at his feet and the trivot brought some tranquility. However, the meager income left a certain feeling of unease on the Spanish bench, in which the Asturian did not stop interacting with his players. The passing of the minutes justified the coach’s anguish at the passivity of his players. Spain played with fire against an infinitely smaller team, but achieved the goal set. Victory and unexpected leadership. Now it is only necessary to tie with the Swedes to seal the ticket for the World Cup. Luis Enrique can continue to be ‘happy’.


GREECE: Vlachodimos (6); Androutsos (5), Goutas (5), Tzavellas (5), Tsimikas (7), Giannoulis (5) (Limnios (5) min.67); Siopis (6), Bouchalakis (5) (Pelkas (5) min.77), Mantalos (5); Masouras (4) (Tzolis (4) min. 46), Pavlidis (4) (Doublikas (4) min.46).

SPAIN: Simon (sc); Carvajal (5), Martínez (5) (Azpilicueta (sc) min.87), Laporte (5), Gayá (5); Gavi (6) (Busquets (6) min. 64), Rodri (7), Koke (6) De Tomás (7) (Dani Olmo (6) min. 55 ‘), Morata (6) (Fornals (6) min .64), Sarabia (7) (Rodrigo (6) min. 55 ‘).

REFEREE: Szymon Marciniak, de Polonia. Amarilla a Siopis, Tsimikas, Carvajal y Tzavellas.

GOALS: 0-1, Sarabia, from a penalty. (26 ‘)

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