LA ROJA MOVE A STEP CLOSER TO EURO 2016 BUT CRASH OUT OF THE WOMEN’S WORLD CUP
The Spanish Week in Review
Spain won 1-0 at Belarus last Sunday night to stay on course for France next summer and a defence of their European Championship crown.
David Silva confirmed his emergence as the best Qiu Qiu Online weapon of la selección by grabbing the only goal on the stroke of half-time.
A wet night in Eastern Europe was never going to be an easy ride and Spain had to fight for their win against a determined and often physical, if limited opponent.
Iker Casillas made a couple of key saves in the second half to prevent an equaliser but Alvaro Morata equally missed a chance at the other end.
Spain enjoyed two-thirds of possession and topped their hosts for shots on target eleven to two and off-target ten to two. They played 693 passes to Belarus’ 310. So they were worthy winners but it was no plain sailing.
Vicente del Bosque, in his 100th match in charge, summed up the night: “Things are not going too badly.”
He went on to identify some tactical points to work on: “Against teams which shut up shop at the back,” he said, “it is good to keep control. What we are lacking is pace when things are static and in transition.”
Del Bosque will call it a day after Euro 2016. He has already won everything that counts but a final hurrah in France would be a fitting send-off for the national team’s most successful manager of all time.
SPAIN: Casillas, Ramos, Alba, Pique, Busquets, Fabregas (sub Isco 75), Cazorla, JuanFran, Pedro (sub Vitolo 65), Morata, Silva (sub Bernat 85). Goal: Silva (45)
Subs not used: De Gea, Rico, Carvajal, Bartra, San Jose, Koke, Nolito, Alcacer, Vidal
Manager: Vicente del Bosque
While Slovakia still head the group by three points following their 2-1 result against Macedonia,
Ukraine’s 3-0 win at home to Luxembourg keeps them breathing down Spain’s necks, three points behind but with a home game against La Roja in October.
Automatic qualification is thus far from assured but a draw or win in Kiev in the Autumn should be enough to bag a place in the top two and a ticket to France.
Spain can take points off group leaders Slovakia at home in September and then visit Ukraine in their final qualifier.
Group C after six games
- Slovakia 18 pts GD +10
- Spain 15 pts GD + 12
- Ukraine 12 pts GD +7
- Belarus 4 pts GD -7
- Macedonia 3 pts GD -8
- Luxembourg 1 pt GD -14
5th Sep Spain v Slovakia
8th Sep Macedonia v Spain
9th Oct Spain v Luxembourg
12th Oct Ukraine v Spain
PLAYOFFS FOR LA PRIMERA
* After their miraculous comeback in the semi-final (lost 3-0 at home, won 4-1 away to Girona), Real Zaragoza maintained their fairytale run.
La Romareda stadium was on fire again as Los Blanquillos staged another emotional comeback, reacting to going a goal down at home to Las Palmas in the final first leg to win 3-1 in the end.
With the Aragon side in touching distance of La Primera having scraped into the playoffs on the final day of the season in sixth place, a point ahead of Ponferradina, their confidence was evinced by them bringing on 40-year old Juan Carlos Valeron in the 64th minute.
Zaragoza then flew to Las Palmas in Gran Canaria on Sunday for the second leg, but their unexpected dream came to an end as the side from the Canary Islands triumphed 2-0 to win on away goals and book the third and final spot in La Primera next season.
Roque Mesa gave the home side a first half lead but the Yellows could not make their superiority pay until the 84th minute, when Argentine U-23 striker Sergio Araujo volleyed in a second to set off wild celebrations, which turned into predictable ecstasy a few minutes later.
Zaragoza must lick their wounds and regroup for another attempt at regaining the Primera status they lost two seasons ago, while Las Palmas return to the top flight for the first time since 2002.