We’re getting closer and closer to next year’s FIFA World Cup and because of that, more and more nations are qualifying by the minute. Over the weekend, we saw another big development as Spain managed to beat Sweden 1-0 and book their place in Qatar.
It was a difficult win but ultimately, Alvaro Morata’s late goal was enough to give the 2010 winners a 12th consecutive qualification for the big show.
In terms of the overall story of the game, though, there was a whole lot to unpack about what we saw.
Morata remains ice cool
The game was on a knife-edge and if Spain weren’t careful, there was a chance they could fall into the same trap as rivals Portugal did against Serbia. Alas, when Dani Olmo’s shot was tipped onto the crossbar, Alvaro Morata was in the right place at the right time to bundle the ball over the line. He may not be the most complete forward in the world and we understand that, but having a sharpshooter like Morata in your team can only be beneficial – especially when you think about his forward instincts.
Sweden’s play-off threat
Sweden could’ve, and maybe even should’ve, come away with the win here; or a draw at the very least. They did a really good job of neutralising Spain after an early flurry, and they came really close to scoring when Isak took advantage of some poor defending. There’s no guarantee that they’re going to get an easy draw in the play-offs and it’s probably going to serve as a real grind, but at the very least, they’ve got an aura of danger surrounding them – which is always a good thing at this level.
Lucky ol’ Spain
Spain looked so vulnerable on so many different occasions and if it wasn’t for their insanely strong home form alongside some real luck, things may have turned out differently. Sure, they looked good at the Euros and in the Nations League, but lightning can’t strike a third time, right?
Wrong. The Spaniards have proven that it doesn’t necessarily matter whether or not they’re playing well, because they can still pull a big result out of the hat when it matters the most.
Their luck is a testament to their “never say die” attitude, which is going to bode well for them in a tournament as gruelling and unpredictable as the World Cup next year in Qatar.
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