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World Cup qualifers: Spain to stay true to style with a draw enough for Qatar ticket

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Madrid, Nov 13 (IANS) Spain will qualify for their 12th consecutive World Cup finals if they win or draw at home to Sweden in Seville’s Estadio de la Cartuja on Sunday night.

Spain’s 1-0 win in Greece thanks to a Pablo Sarabia penalty, coupled with Sweden’s shock 2-0 defeat in Georgia has turned the table in the group with Spain now holding a one-point advantage going into the last game.

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Three days ago, it looked as if Spain would have to win their final game, but now a draw will be enough to book their ticket to Qatar in November 2022.

Coach Luis Enrique has already said his side will look to take the game to their rivals and stay true to their style of play, but the Spanish will be aware that their last two results against the Swedes are not good, reports Xinhua.

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The Swedes came back from a goal down to win 2-1 in Stockholm in September, with Alexander Isak and Viktor Claesson overturning Carlos Soler’s fourth minute opener for the Spanish.

Spain also failed to score against Sunday’s rivals in a 0-0 draw in Seville in the group stage of this summer’s European Championship. Although a repeat of that result would take the Spanish directly to Qatar, that would certainly cause some frayed nerves.

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Manager Enrique is likely to make several changes to his side in order to try and maintain as many fresh legs as possible on the pitch. Pau Torres will probably step into central defense for Inigo Martinez, who ended Thursday with a minor calf problem, while the experienced duo of Jordi Alba and Cesar Azpilicueta could come in as full backs.

Dani Olmo will replace Raul de Tomas, and Sergio Busquets also looks likely to start. Solar will probably step into the side for 17-year-old Gavi, who also ended Thursday’s game with slight physical problems.

The Spanish have everything in their favor to keep up their World Cup record, with the only question marks over their game being whether they will be able to turn possession into chances, and whether the Swedes will catch them on the break.

–IANS

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