Luis Enrique insisted Spain will be going for the win against Sweden on Sunday even though a draw would be sufficient for his team to win Group B and qualify for next year’s World Cup in Qatar.
Spain moved top of the group after beating Greece 1-0 in Athens, taking advantage of Sweden surprisingly losing 2-0 in Georgia earlier on Thursday.
A first-half penalty from Pablo Sarabia was enough to secure victory for La Roja and means Spain now have their fate in their own hands, but Luis Enrique said they will still go for the three points when they host Sweden in Seville in their final group game.
“On Sunday we will go out to win as we do every game against a very difficult opponent, but one that we know very well,” Spain head coach Luis Enrique told reporters.
“I hope that the fans will be the 12th player for us.”
Luis Enrique was happy with how his team played in Greece and said that he saw improvements from the home side from their first meeting in the group, despite the fact that the reverse game in March finished 1-1.
@LUISENRIQUE21: “En mi época de jugador nos clasificamos para un Mundial ante Dinamarca en Sevilla. No recuerdo un partido igual en mi carrera en el que la afición nos llevara en volandas como aquel día”.
— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SeFutbol) November 11, 2021
“Greece has improved a lot since the first game we played in Spain,” he added. “Thanks to the attitude and effort of my players, we have taken the game forward against a very hard-working team.
“I think we could have played better. We had a first part of control in which we neutralised their attack.
“I was happy with the attitude of the team. They have not been gripped, which in these games is not easy.
“The players have done a great job, they have overcome difficulties and are ambitious.
“We have a positive dynamic. There are always things to improve, but that we receive support is due to the effort of the team.”
Luis Enrique allayed fears about Gavi after the teenage midfielder came off in the second half with what appeared to be a facial injury, saying that he is “fine”. The Barcelona starlet was impressive once again, completing 100 per cent of his 43 passes, including 32 in the opposition half.
Spain’s game against Sweden will be played at Estadio La Cartuja in Seville, and Luis Enrique emphasised again he wants the fans to roar his team over the line on Sunday.
“In my time as a player we qualified for a World Cup against Denmark in Seville. I don’t remember a similar game in my career in which the fans carried us like that day,” he said, recalling the qualifier for the 1994 World Cup against Denmark, which Spain won 1-0.
“La Cartuja has to bounce.”
133 – @5sergiob is playing his 133th international game for @SeFutbol and he has equaled Xavi Hernández as the third player with the most caps for the Spanish National Team. Myth. pic.twitter.com/ItoEiZN7uV
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) November 11, 2021
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