How Spain Will Line Up Against Georgia in Crucial World Cup Qualifier

Samuel MarsdenFeatured ColumnistOctober 14, 2013

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 11:  Alvaro Negredo of Spain celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Belarus at Iberostars Stadium on October 11, 2013 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

One point is all Spain need to ensure that the holders will take up their place at the World Cup in Brazil next summer with minimal fuss.

That one point has to come against Georgia at Albacete's Carlos Belmonte stadium on Tuesday evening.

Georgia don't quite prop up the group, Friday's victims Belarus have that honour, but they hardly possess a record to frighten La Roja.

Just one win has come from their seven qualifying matches so far, while they've scored only three goals across all of those matches—defensively they've been OK though, conceding just eight times so far.

Still, whatever team selection Vicente del Bosque goes for, you'd expect them to pick up the point they need without stress.

Since the 2-1 win over Belarus on Friday, the Spain squad have been back training at their base in Madrid.

Sunday saw a group session out on the pitch at Las Rozas. However, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Alvaro Arbeloa carried out individual recovery sessions in the gym instead according to AS.

Pique is thought to be the least likely to make the Georgia game, with Inigo Martinez poised to take his place if he doesn't recover.

After being taken off at half-time against the Belarusians it's questionable whether del Bosque will stick with Nacho Monreal at left-back with Jordi Alba remaining absent.

The Arsenal player hasn't started a game in England this season, and the form of Sevilla's Alberto Moreno makes the 21-year-old a more than viable option to feature from the start on Tuesday night.

Behind the defence the eternal question remains: Iker Casillas or Victor Valdes?

If del Bosque opts for the Barcelona stopper it would represent the first big sign that he's prepared to make Valdes his permanent No. 1 in the light of Casillas' lack of games.

Or will he rotate and bring Casillas back between the sticks?

Sergio Busquets and Xavi Hernandez should remain in midfield, with the issues further forward more open to debate.

Andres Iniesta came off the bench against Belarus—he'd missed a couple of training sessions in the buildup—but should start against Georgia.

Moreno could start
Moreno could startDavid Ramos/Getty Images

Cesc Fabregas or David Silva are the two candidates to drop to the bench—Pedro Rodriguez tends to offer something varied from the rest of Spain's attack, which del Bosque definitely appreciates.

Which brings up round to the final position up for debate which, as ever, is the No. 9 role.

Swansea's Michu filled it on Friday, although Manchester City's Alvaro Negredo emerged from the bench to head in what proved the match-clinching second.

It should propel Negredo into starting spot, with the 28-year-old at last looking to have the belief that he can be the man to seize the role permanently.

Failing that, a return to Cesc Fabregas and a false nine is always an option for del Bosque.

Spain's lineups have not always been completely predictable of late, but whatever team lines up on Tuesday night should easily pick up the point needed to confirm their World Cup qualification.

Then the planning can start.


Predicted Spain XI: Victor Valdes; Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Nacho Monreal; Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas; Pedro Rodriguez, Alvaro Negredo, Andres Iniesta