‘Gijon is Finland’s inspiration’

Mixu Paatelainen has built up Spain’s strength ahead of tonight’s meeting, but also indicated that his Finland side will be inspired by their last meeting.

Group I qualification towards the 2014 World Cup continues tonight with this match in Helsinki, between two sides that played out a surprise 1-1 draw in Gijon in the reverse fixture last March.

For Finland’s Coach, there is no doubt about the task facing his team this time.

“We are a modest group and are playing against the best team in the world,” Paatelainen told reporters in his pre-game conference.

“Brazil beat Spain in the Confederations Cup Final, but I still think that Spain right now has the best national team in the world.

“Every one of their players is first class. If any of their regulars do not play, the team is not weakened.

“They have players that this time are not even called up but would be definite starters in other national teams.

“When you play against Spain, the greatest powers in the game are obliged to defend 80 per cent of the time, so it is not surprising that we will have to defend ourselves even more.

“We cannot attack like crazy, because Spain are extremely dangerous when retrieving the ball. In those situations, everyone on the team must know what to do.

“Spain are a great team playing a football that is entertaining and effective. We understand the difficulty of our task, but the experience in Gijon showed us that we can stop even the best team in the world.”

Tags Finland Paatelainen Spain