La Roja play Kosovo this evening in a crucial World Cup qualifier. Luis Enrique’s side are top of Group B, but have played two games more than second-placed Sweden, and given only the side that finishes first in each group is guaranteed a place in Qatar three points in Kosovo is a must. The pressure’s on.
Spain's non-recognition of Kosovo is due to Basque/Catalan independence movements. Serbia/Kosovo argument viewed as the same.
(Huge irony: the Spanish Air Force were the first NATO planes to bomb Belgrade. 24 March, 1999.)
Spanish TV will de-capitalise 'kos' on scoreboard. pic.twitter.com/1uBCuHn0DR
— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) September 8, 2021
One of the stranger elements to this evening’s clash is the political aspect. Spanish television will refer to this evening’s opponents as the team of the Kosovo FA, who come from the territory of Kosovo. Kosovo will also be lower case on the scoreboard. This is because Spain refuses to recognise Kosovo’s independence due to their own burgeoning independence movements in the Basque Country and Catalonia.
Spain lost 2-1 to Sweden last Thursday in their first competitive game since they exited Euro 2020 after a semi-final defeat to eventual winners Italy at Wembley Stadium. They followed that up with a 4-0 hammering of Georgia, and will hope to secure another uncomplicated victory over in Kosovo this evening.
🚨 OFICIAL | ¡¡ONCE INICIAL DE ESPAÑA!!
👥 Esta es la alineación que ha dispuesto @LUISENRIQUE21 para afrontar el partido en el estadio Fadil Vokrri.
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) September 8, 2021
Luis Enrique has set his team up in a 4-3-3 shape. Unai Simon starts in goal, behind a back four composed of Marcos Llorente, Inigo Martinez, Aymeric Laporte and Sergio Reguilon. Sergio Busquets will sit in midfield, with Koke and Carlos Soler either side of him. Alvaro Morata will lead the line, flanked by Premier League pair Ferran Torres and Pablo Fornals.