Reigning World Cup champion Spain will host Belarus on Friday in a World Cup 2014 qualifying match in Palma de Mallorca.
La Roja dismantled Belarus in Minsk last October, winning 4-0 on the road behind a hat-trick from Pedro. And with Belarus having won just one of seven UEFA group matches thus far, many are expecting another Spanish clinic on Friday.
The Spanish have had two draws over the past year against Finland and France, but have yet to lose a single match in Group I action, picking up 14 points through six matches. With just two matches left to play against Belarus and Georgia, Spain are heavy favorites to win the group and earn a trip to Brazil next summer.
Meanwhile, Belarus have already been eliminated from World Cup contention, having lost five of seven group matches to this point.
Here, we'll get you set with everything you need to know for Friday's qualifying tilt.
Date: Friday, October 11, 2013
Time: 4 p.m. EDT, 9 p.m. BST
Where: Iberostar Stadium, Palma, Spain
Watch: ESPN Deportes (U.S.), BT Sport 1 (U.K.)
Live Stream: ESPN3
Top Storyline: La Roja Aim for Separation in Group I
No. 1 qualifies, No. 2 earns play-off
The defending World Cup champions may be 10 points clear of Belarus in Group I this fall, but they are tied with France coming into Friday's showdown.
That's why Friday's match is so pivotal.
Spain will conclude qualification against Georgia next week in another match they should easily win.
David Villa won't be available for Vicente del Bosque's squad over the next week because of an ankle injury, according to ESPNFC.com's Dermot Corrigan. But Corrigan points out that Swansea City star Michu has been called up for the two matches and could potentially make his international debut against Belarus.
Michu scored 22 goals in 43 total appearances for the Jacks last season and offers Spain another weapon to throw at Belarus as La Roja aim to gain some separation from France in Group I.
Don't expect any surprises from Belarus on Friday. The visitors will be completely overmatched, and with France right on Spain's heels at the top of Group I, you can bet La Roja will be battling hard from the opening whistle.
The home crowd will also provide Spain with a shot of energy.
Del Bosque's unit out-possessed Belarus 70-30 in their previous meeting and out-shot the Eastern Europeans 10-5 for the match. With Spain sure to dominate possession once again, the result should be very similar to what it was in Minsk a year ago.
Spain 3, Belarus 0
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