European Qualifiers Greece v Spain preview: where to watch, line-ups and team news | European qualifications

A thrilling Group B duel of the European Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup this Thursday (20:45 CET) at the Olympic Stadium “Spyros Louis” in Athens where Greece and Spain will play three crucial points for their aspirations. That of the Greek champions of EURO 2004, finishing in second place in the group; for the Spaniards, winners of EURO 1964, 2008 and 2012 [y Mundial 2010]be group champions.

This is how selections happen

Greece, who had already been able to send Spain to the play-off (for EURO 2004, which the Greek team ended up winning and losing 1-1 in the group stage) in 2003 by winning 0-1 against the Spaniards (their only victory) in qualifying, they may have their last chance to reach second place in Group B, where they close their participation at home against Kosovo on Sunday. The team led by Dutchman John van ‘t Schip since September 2019 has already proven to be a dangerous rival, starting with a draw against the Spanish team in March this year in Granada and was recently imposed at home against Sweden by 2 – one. Undoubtedly, their draws in Athens 1-1 against Georgia and 1-1 against Kosovo as visitors, have severely dampened the hopes of qualification in a Greece in revival and growth.

Draw in March between Spain and Greece

For their part, Spain, after a great tournament in the final phase of the UEFA Nations League where they came close to the title against France last October, return to action in the European Qualifiers with a clear objective. Beat Greece on Thursday and Sweden on Sunday to earn a direct ticket to the 2022 World Cup. Spain, who have never lost on Greek soil (and the last time the Spaniards beat Greece was in the group stage of EURO 2008), they have only won two matches (D4 and D2) out of eight away between European Qualifiers and friendly matches since 2020, not counting the final stages of the UEFA EURO 2020 and Nations League. Both of those victories came in this World Cup qualifying round, but with a lot of pain. Against Georgia, Spain needed a goal from Dani Olmo in stoppage time while against Kosovo, the Spanish side only secured victory in the 90th minute.

where to watch the game

Check here which operators are broadcasting the European Qualifiers in your territory.

Confirmed lineups

Greece: Vlachodimos; Androutsos, Goutas, Tzavellas, Tsimikas, Giannoulis; Siopis, Bouchalakis, Mantalos; Pavlidis, Masuras
warned of penalty: Mavropanos, Bouchalakis, Androutsos, Siopis, Pavlidis

Spain: Unai Simon; Carvajal, Gayà, Laporte, Iñigo Martínez; Rodri, Koke, Gavi; Sarabia, Raúl de Tomas, Morata
warned of penalty: Alba, Iñigo Martinez, Diego Llorente and Busquets

journalist’s analysis

Daniel Huerta, Spanish journalist (@UEFAcomDanielH)

Kosovo 0-2 Spain

Kosovo 0-2 Spain

After the good taste in the mouth that Spain left last month in the Nations League, Luis Enrique’s TEAM returns to action. Why am I highlighting the word team? Because this selection, where the real leader is the “sir”, it is a TEAM above a selection of players. The collective (players, staff, doctors…) is above the individual. Once again, due to technical problems and above all injuries, Luis Enrique presents noticeable changes in his squad, which had to be modified due to player losses. Ferran Torres (four goals in the last four games with Spain to add a total of 12 in 22 in 14 months since his debut) or Mikel Oyarzabal, to give an example, are very sensitive victims, even if the coach recovers important footballers like the Danyyes, Olmo and Carvajal. But regardless of the players available to defend Spain, this TEAM with Luis Enrique at its head has already shown that it is able to compete (and shine) despite adversity and the so-called “D days”.

Statements by the protagonists

John van ‘t Schip, Greece coach: We have a plan, which is to put pressure on the Spaniards to create danger. We know Spain like to have the ball, so we need to defend as high as possible to create dangerous chances. All my players have studied it well. We have to be prepared and focused to give Spain a tough afternoon, we have to be ourselves and believe in the team. We have to be united, we have already played with the injured in the past.

Greece 2-1 Sweden

Greece 2-1 Sweden

Luis Enrique, Spain coach: Concerning the first match, Greece changed their system and now they are more offensive. I expect a very motivated Greece in its stadium and with its people. It will cost us dearly. They know what to do with the ball. Spain are forced to win every game, that’s what we try to do. Greece are a very well organized team, like under the old system. After changing the system they play and play well. We will have to press them well and create scoring situations. We have the resources to solve it. My players have pace, quality and confidence. I am lucky to be Spain coach. I am calm. This team has always shown that pressure pays. Holy pressure.

Fitness status (most recent first):

Greece: DVVED

Spain: DVVVD

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