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World Cup Qualifying Preview: Spain - Finland


Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Alba
Alonso, Busquets, Iniesta
Silva, Fabregas, Pedro


Raitala, Toivio, Moisander, Arkivuo
Ring, Sparv
R Eremenko, Hetemaj, Hamalainen

Midfielder Xavi is struggling with a hamstring problem and is unlikely to feature in Spain's Group I World Cup qualifier against Finland at El Molinon.

Carles Puyol (knee) and Iker Casillas (hand) are out injured. Fernando Torres and Javi Martinez have been omitted from the squad by coach Vicente del Bosque. Cesc Fabregas is expected to start in a "false nine" role alongside Pedro and David Silva in attack.

Finland boss Mixu Paatelainen is without Alexei Eremenko, who is suspended after getting sent off in the 1-1 draw against Georgia.

Chievo's Perparim Hetemaj is likely to replace the Rubin Kazan playmaker in the starting lineup.

  • Spain is on an 18-match unbeaten run (W14, D4) stretching back to November 2011.

  • La Roja have won three of their last four encounters with Finland.

  • If he plays, Sergio Ramos (pictured, right) will be the eighth player to reach 100 appearances for Spain.
  • Finland has only won three of its last nine internationals (W3, D3, L3).
  • Suomi is ranked 87th in the world, having never qualified for a major tournament.
  • Finland's last win over Spain was a 2-0 success in a World Cup qualifier in June 1969.

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