Spain take on Germany in La Cartuja in Seville this evening intent on reclaiming their place at the top of League A Group 4 of the Nations League.
Germany leapfrogged La Roja on Saturday evening when Spain dropped points against Switzerland with captain Sergio Ramos missing two penalties.
Marca have identified ten key elements and ambitions intimately linked with tonight’s game, underlining the importance of their final international until March.
- Entry into the final phase: To qualify for the Final Four Spain need to win this evening. Both La Roja and Germany could become the first nation to boast a World Cup, European Championship and Nations League to their name.
- A shorter route to Qatar: The Final Four will be included among five teams in the draw on December 7th and will avoid long trips in the qualification phase of the 2022 World Cup.
- A test of maturity: Germany are always a difficult opponent, especially given Spain’s imperfect recent record. If they can win, it could be a real boost of confidence. If they lose, it could be damaging.
- To cut the bad streak: Not since the days of Jose Antonio Camacho have Spain gone three-in-a-row without tasting victory – they have in the last three games. If they fail to win tonight, it will be their worst run since 1988, when only Ramos of the current squad was born.
- To beat a top team again: The last time La Roja did so was Luis Enrique‘s debut, a 2-1 victory at Wembley. Since then, his Spain haven’t beaten any European or world champions, failing to beat England, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands.
- To score goals: The biggest issue facing this team is the lack of goals they’ve scored – just three in the last five, for example.
- Enrique’s idea needs results: Stylistically, his teams are playing well. Pressing high, living in the opposition territory, playing with speed. But they need results to legitimise the idea, no matter how valid it is intellectually.
- A long break: The squad says goodbye to each other after this evening until March, when the qualifying phase for Qatar 2022 begins. If La Roja can beat Germany they will feel they’re on a strong foundation. If not, things will be more complicated.
- An open position: Spain’s goalkeeping position is up for grabs, and whoever plays this evening in Seville has a great opportunity to make a claim to become La Roja’s number one.
- Engage the supporters: People have fallen out of love a little with the national team in recent times. Defeat this evening could only make this apathy worse, but victory could inspire a return of interest.
Featured image courtesy of The National.