MADRID, March 30 (Xinhua) — The Spanish national team looks for the second win of their World Cup qualifying campaign and also to give a better image than in their two previous matches when they entertain Kosovo on Wednesday evening.
Spain began the road to qualification for Qatar with a disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Greece and followed it up with a 2-1 win away to a modest Georgia side thanks to Dani Olmo’s 92nd-minute goal which completed a Spanish comeback.
In Georgia, Spain coach Luis Enrique made seven changes to the side that started against Greece and has come in for criticism for excessive chopping and changing as he gives the impression that he doesn’t know his best starting eleven.
There will almost certainly be further changes on Wednesday with Gerard Moreno likely to make play after missing the first two games due to a muscle problem. The top-scoring Spaniard in La Liga should give more punch in attack to a side that has so far dominated possession but failed to turn that into clear-cut chances.
The coach also has to decide whether to continue with Unai Simon in goal. The Athletic Club Bilbao goalkeeper looks to have won the battle to become first choice for Spain, but against a theoretically weaker rival and with Bilbao due to face Real Sociedad in the final of the 2020 Copa del Rey on Saturday, Luis Enrique could opt to give a start to David de Gea or even hand a debut to Robert Sanchez.
Central defender Inigo Martinez (Bilbao) and forward Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad) are other players who will be in Cup action on April 3rd, although whether or not Martinez plays could depend on the fitness of Sergio Ramos, who played just the first half against Greece and rested in Georgia.
Luis Enrique told the press he had “made a pact” with Ramos that he’d only play 45 minutes against Greece and if he doesn’t face Kosovo there appears to be little sense in having included him in the squad.
Right back is also proving an issue with both Jesus Navas and Dani Carvajal injured and Marcos Llorente will probably start there on Wednesday, despite it reducing his effectiveness in the opposition half.
Meanwhile, Pedri was one of Spain’s bright spots in Georgia and will probably continue along with Ferran Torres and Dani Olmo as Luis Enrique continues to search for his strongest side. Enditem