Spain ended their Group I 2014 Brazil World Cup qualifying match tonight in a 1 - 1 draw result against Finland. Not the result expected nor was it wanted as Group rival France defeated Georgia 3 - 1 & go top spot of the Group with 10 points , 2 more over Spain with 8 points. This puts unwanted pressure on Spain & into a must win situation when they meet France next Tuesday in Paris. 

Soccer Spain

The question must be asked,  & hopefully analysed by the Spanish Coaching team; what effectiveness does having 85% of ball possession give the Spanish team along with + 15 corners & + 20 shots at goal that ends with only one goal to show for it & with Finland equalizing? 

This is a recurring problem with opponents having studied the World & European Champions & finding an antidote to their familiar game. The obsession of Spanish Coach Vicente Del Bosque to play without a true forward ( Number Nine ) works sometimes but its novelty effect has gone. The rivals ( especially lesser on paper ) choose to put 10 men in their defensive line to "comfortably watch" time after time Spain crash into their wall. In a slip or lack of concentration opponents counter-attack to try their luck. Unfortunately while their rivals study Spain, the latter seems to forget experience from past rivals & fall into the same trap again & again: letting go of clear victories with their opponents reaching the Spanish goal square once & scoring ( sometimes more). 

The first half was 90% Spain, but it was frankly boring & frustrating as the National side got nowhere. Scoring goals is the objective of Football & the reason for winning & Spain was null with both.  

Spain Soccer

The second half saw Spanish Coach Del Bosque change Cazorla for Pedro to open the wings & it seemed to help. From a fixed play 100th capped Spanish defender acting as Captain tonight Sergio Ramos headed the opening goal in the 49th min. It seemed everything was back on course & following the script,  but as seen many a time before, Spain did not finish off & tie up things & in a lapse allowed Finland to take a bet & counter, a bet that paid dividends as they equalized via Pukki in the 78th min.

This shook Spain into reacting as they needed to win to be able travel to France at least in equal Group classification terms. A number 9 was brought on with Negredo & Mata to find some alternatives & depth. It nearly worked as Spain came close had it not been for the determined Finnish defence & their goalkeeper. Nerves, anxiety & frustration was the price paid towards the end for Spain for failing in effectiveness earlier. Touching the ball & having possession 85% of match time means nothing if you cannot score & score well to knock out your "lesser" opponent.

Special mention to Andres Iniesta who was brilliant & deserves acclaim & Sergio Ramos for his 100th cap & solid performance with goal included. Lastly, congratulations to Finland which knew their limited capacities, their strengths & kept to their game plan. In the end Finland was super effective with 15% of the ball possession. Now this needs some study by Spain.

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