Friday 12/3/21
QATAR 2022 QUALIFIER

Luis Enrique wants home advantage to count for Spain against Sweden

Spain now have their fate in their own hands, needing just a point to secure qualification for Qatar 2022
FILED - 22 June 2021, Spain, Las Rozas: Spanish National team coach Luis Enrique walks across the pitch during a training session of the team, ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Euro 2020 Group E soccer match against Slovakia. Photo: Cezaro de Luca/dpa
Spanish National team coach Luis Enrique walks across the pitch during a training session of the team. Photo: Cezaro de Luca/dpa.

Luis Enrique wants the home crowd to be the difference for Spain against Sweden in their final qualifier for the 2022 World Cup on Sunday.

La Roja moved top of Group B after beating Greece 1-0 on Thursday, taking advantage of Sweden's shock 2-0 defeat in Georgia.

A first-half penalty from Pablo Sarabia was enough to secure victory for Spain in Athens and meant they now have their fate in their own hands, needing just a point to secure qualification for Qatar 2022.

Speaking before the crucial game in Seville, coach Luis Enrique said: "It is very important to focus on the difficulties we can expect, which will be many. They defend very well. I hope that [the fans] will help us in the delicate moments.

"This will not be a party until the game is over. Our job is to close with a victory, but they are a rival and that will not be easy."

Spain and Sweden drew 0-0 in the group stages of Euro 2020 earlier this year, while the Swedes won the reverse game in World Cup qualifying 2-1 in September, and Luis Enrique was asked if he intends to change his approach this time.

Results

"I am not going to change anything beyond nuances. Sweden defend very well and at the top they have fast people, which cause problems against you.

"In the European Championship we were better, and I don't think we deserved the defeat in Stockholm. But football does not know about merits or justice, it only knows about results. That is why we need the public because with them, we are stronger and they are weaker."

The Spain head coach was also asked about Zlatan Ibrahimovic and whether he would prefer to see the iconic striker on the pitch on Sunday.

"That's your problem, that of Sweden and its coach, not mine. I have never met Ibra. I don't know him," Luis Enrique added.

"The truth is that with Ibra the direct game improves, but that is only part of the attack. Ibra boosts Sweden's long game, but we'll see if he comes out when they give the line-up. If he plays we will try to deactivate him, but 100 per cent it will be impossible."

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