Spain will need to find a few extra gears when they meet Slovakia in their final Group E encounter as their Euro 2020 hopes hang by a thread.
Few would have banked on Spain needing a win to secure the safe passage into the knockout phase of the European Championships.
Luis Enrique’s team have stuttered and fumbled their way in both previous outings and now meet Slovakia, hardly a team that will roll over.
The one potential element that could help spare Spain’s blushes is that the match takes place in Seville. And with the comforts of home comes the knowledge that Spain – who are 10 games without losing despite their underperforming start to this tournament – are 3/3 when facing Slovakia on home soil.
Slovakia will rather look to the 2014 encounter in which they beat Spain.
Enrique will be relieved to have Sergio Busquets back after the midfielder recovered from the coronavirus. He will also be tempted to start Manchester City playmaker Ferran Torres up front with Alvaro Morata keeping his place after netting against Poland.
In the other match, also kicking off at 6pm on Wednesday, Sweden will be keen to see off the threat posed by Poland.
The Polish outfit, led by Robert Lewandowski, showed their fight in the draw against Spain and are by no means out of the competition. Sweden are favourites to emerge from the group and will be keen on at least securing the draw.
Poland are sweating on the fitness of Jan Bednarek and Jakub Moder , who limped out of the draw against Spain.
Sweden centre-back Marcus Danielson, who holds up the line with Manchester United’s Victor Lindelof, is ready to help his side to a third clean sheet.
”All the players work hard together. We have a structure and a defence that works really well, and we never shy away from the effort needed in every match,” says Danielson.
”We can’t focus on just one player [Lewandowski]. Of course he’s their best and most important player, but we need to defend as a team – against him and the rest of the Polish team”.
As it stands:
Sweden – 4 points
Slovakia – 3 points
Spain – 2 points
Poland – 1 point
How to qualify:
Sweden will go through if they avoid defeat against Poland. If Sweden lose and the other game is drawn, Sweden, Slovakia and Poland will be split for first to third place on results between the three teams. If Sweden lose they finish third.
Slovakia will go through if they beat Spain, or if they draw and Sweden avoid defeat.
Spain will go through if they beat Slovakia. If they draw they will finish third unless Poland win.
Poland will go through in second place if they win and the other game is not drawn.
If Slovakia, Sweden and Poland all finish on 4 points (ahead of Spain on 3), they will be split on goal difference from matches between the three teams (the first two teams would be through, the third-placed team could also advance depending on the record of third-placed teams in other groups).