Spain Lack Spark in Opening Draw With Greece

Spain
Soccer Football – World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group B – Spain v Greece – Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain – March 25, 2021 Spain’s Alvaro Morata in action REUTERS/Jon Nazca

GRANADA ⸺ Spain struggled to create clear-cut chances as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw by Greece on Thursday in a disappointing start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The hosts had 78% of possession throughout the Group B match, but rarely tested Odisseas Vlachodimos in the Greek goal, with their final ball uncharacteristically wayward.

“I’m not a fan of the result at all, we lacked that little bit of inspiration,” Spain coach Luis Enrique told TVE.

Soccer Football – World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group B – Spain v Greece – Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain – March 25, 2021 Greece’s Anastasios Bakasetas celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS/Jon Nazca

“What I did like was the attitude and the rhythm of the players; but when we got close to Greece’s box we weren’t at it.

“We need to create more danger. We force the opponent back into their box but we just didn’t have the spark or create the chance you need to make at this level.”

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Things had started positively for Spain, with Dani Olmo threatening in the opening stages. The Leipzig forward headed over when well placed before rattling the crossbar from distance.

The 2010 World Cup winners opened the scoring after 32 minutes. Alvaro Morata latched on to a lofted Koke through ball to fire in from close range and put them firmly in charge of the game.

However, shortly before the hour mark, substitute Inigo Martinez – on for captain Sergio Ramos – was penalised for a rash tackle on Greek midfielder Giorgos Masouras inside the box. 

Soccer Football – World Cup Qualifiers Europe – Group B – Spain v Greece – Los Carmenes, Granada, Spain – March 25, 2021 Spain’s Ferran Torres in action with Greece’s Georgios Masouras and Konstantinos Tsimikas REUTERS/Jon Nazca

Anastasios Bakasetas smashed the ball in from the spot to level the scores and stun Luis Enrique’s side.

Morata spurned Spain’s best opportunity for a winner as he headed straight at the goalkeeper.

Spain travel to Georgia in their second qualifier on Sunday, the same day Greece host Honduras in a friendly.

Reporting by Joseph Walker, editing by Pritha Sarkar and Ed Osmond; Reuters

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