Spain travel to Helsinki for what is one of the more interesting 2014 World Cup qualifying matches on Friday.
Just looking at the countries involved, you'd think this will be a one-sided thrashing. However, Finland were able to steal a 1-1 draw in Gijon in the first meeting between these two. There won't be any fear from the Finns in this match.
Those dropped points could prove critical for Spain. They're only one point ahead of France for first in Group I. Both Spain and France will want to avoid that second spot and having to qualify for the World Cup through the dreaded playoff.
Finland still have a mathematical chance of finishing in the top two of Group I, but the chance of them doing so is minute. They are four points behind France and will have to get a result against Spain to try to keep pace.
Spain's FA announced on Twitter Vicente del Bosque's squad for the Finland match and upcoming friendly against Chile:
Here's a quick preview for this qualifying clash.
When: Friday, September 6, at 2:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. BST)
Where: Helsinki Olympic Stadium, Helsinki, Finland
Watch: ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Top Storyline: Can Spain Break Down Finland?
Finland picked up their draw by sitting incredibly deep and staying organized defensively. Then Teemu Pukki scored late on the break to snatch the point. You can expect Finland to play a similar style, even with the match in Helsinki.
This is the kind of style that you see Spain, and often Barcelona as well, having a hard time breaking down. There's not a lot of space in which to play, and in what little space there is, it's extremely hard to create any real chances on goal. La Roja won't be able to open up play much at all in this match, so they must figure out a different way to find that critical goal.
What's the result of this 2014 World Cup qualifying match?
This one is gonna be ugly. Don't expect to see any beautiful, intricate attacking moves from either side. If Finland are going to get on the board, it will be as a result of a quick, direct counter-attack. If Spain score, it will come from a systematic repetitive approach that looks to exploit whatever space there is in the Finnish final third.
Spain cannot afford to drop any points with France so close in the group. They'll be able to pick up a hard-fought win here against Finland. La Roja will have learned from the draw that they cannot lose focus in this match and give Finland any chance to get a scoring opportunity.
It's not the kind of performance fans have gotten used to regarding Spain, but it will be a workman-like win for La Roja.
Spain 2, Finland 0