La Roja faced Kosovo this evening in a crucial World Cup qualifier. Luis Enrique’s side went into the game top of Group B, but having 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 was a must. They delivered; Pablo Fornals scored in the first half and Ferran Torres struck in the second to ensure Spain won the game 2-0, and given Sweden lost 2-1 in Greece it was a very good night’s work indeed.
One of the stranger elements to this evening’s clash was the political aspect. Spanish television referred to Kosovo as the team of the Kosovo FA, who come from the territory of Kosovo. This is because Spain refuses to recognise Kosovo’s independence due to their own burgeoning independence movements in the Basque Country and Catalonia.
Fantastic finish from a very tough angle, Pablo Fornals 👏 pic.twitter.com/LY73auvpT4
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 8, 2021
Spain lost 2-1 to Sweden last week in their first game since they exited Euro 2020 after a semi-final defeat to eventual winners Italy. They followed that up with a 4-0 win over Georgia, and went into tonight’s game looking to secure another uncomplicated victory; they got things off to a good start, with Fornals putting Spain ahead in the 32nd minute, before Ferran doubled the lead with an insurance goal in injury time to finish the job.
— B/R Goal (@br_goal) September 8, 2021
“This has been like a childbirth with complications,” Luis Enrique said after the game in comments carried by Marca. “These types of games are always difficult. September isn’t the best month to compete, it’s a month in which you’re not yet in competition. It’s cost us from the beginning, but in the end we take the three points away. The teams are very equal, something we’ve seen with the result of Greece and Sweden.
“[Securing qualification] depends on us, but we still have two games to qualify for the World Cup. One will be against Sweden and we’ve already seen at Euro 2020 how tight that game will be. Just because it depends on us doesn’t mean that we’ll achieve it. It’s difficult to win two, three or four games in a row.”