Spain faces injury dispute ahead of clashes between Greece and Sweden
Spain enters its decisive FIFA World Cup qualifier 2022 against Greece and Sweden without any key players due to injuries. Nine players are not available for coach Luis Enrique for the matches in Greece on Thursday and against Sweden on Sunday. (More football news)
Spain enters its last two matches in second place in Group B, two points behind Sweden and four before third place Greece. Only the group winners qualify for next year’s tournament in Qatar, while second places must go through to a playoff.
Pedri González, Ferran Torres and Marcos Llorente, who helped lead Spain to the European Championship semi-finals a few months ago, are among those who could not be named by Luis Enrique. Gerard Moreno, Mikel Oyarzabal and Eric García are also missing from the European Championship 2020 squad.
García was injured when he played for Barcelona in the Spanish league, as was the young forward Ansu Fati, who returned to the national team after a long absence due to another injury. Yeremi Pino was the unlucky victim and couldn’t continue the game, so FC’s Yeremi Pino had to come off the bench.
The coach was able to bring back some players after recovering from recent injuries, including Pau Torres, José Luis Gayà, Jordi Alba, Álvaro Morata and Dani Olmo. Two victories will be enough for Spain to finish first in their group and qualify for the World Cup without being dependent on other results.
A draw against Greece guarantees at least a second place in the group, which would send Spain to the playoffs against the other nine group runners-up and two group winners from the UEFA Nations League.
The 12 countries will be drawn into three four-team groups and played next March. The seeded teams get a home game in parentheses semifinals. A win by Sweden in fourth place Georgia on Thursday and a draw against Spain against Greece will secure first place for the Swedes.
Spain has qualified for every World Cup since 1978, winning its only title in 2010 in South Africa. It was knocked out by host Russia in the round of 16 of the 2018 World Cup. “I can not imagine a World Cup without Spain,” said forward Brahim Díaz. “We have two finals ahead of us and we have to win them.”