By 90Min
October 15, 2019

Spain booked their place at next year's European Championships with a dramatic 1-1 draw against Sweden at the Friends Arena in Stockholm, as Rodrigo netted a late leveller to ensure La Roja secured a point. 

Robert Moreno's men started on the front foot, with Thiago Alcantara squandering a glorious chance to give his side the opening goal after just eight minutes. The midfielder found himself one-on-one with Robin Olsen, but his attempt to walk the ball into the net were thwarted. Spain continued to probe, with Rodri and Gerard Moreno both testing the goalkeeper. 

However, Sweden began to grow into the game, with their first notable chance falling to Robin Quaison, but his header was expertly tipped away by David de Gea. The second half began with La Roja dominating possession once again, but it was Janne Andersson's side who took the lead only five minutes in - Marcus Berg the man to eventually prod the ball home, after a fine double save by De Gea. 

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The home side were content to sit back and allow Spain to control possession, with the defence sniffing out any danger. Moreno's team appeared to be heading towards their first defeat in Group F, until Rodrigo poked home in the 92nd minute. 

Fabian latched onto a loose ball, before firing across the goal where the substitute was waiting to tap home and ensure his nation picked up a valuable point.

Here's the breakdown of the game. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Olsen (8); Lustig (6), Granqvist (6), Lindelof (7), Bengtsson (6); Larsson (6), Olsson (6), Ekdal (6), Forsberg (7), Quaison (7), Berg (7*).

Substitutes: Isak (6), Svensson (6), Andersson (N/A).


Key Talking Point

Spain only needed a point to qualify for next year's tournament, and although they were able to secure a draw, they left it late to do so.

Following La Roja's disappointing 1-1 draw against Norway in their last match, the manager reacted by rotating his squad and giving opportunities to others to impress.

With Sergio Ramos suspended, Inigo Martinez came in at the back to partner Raul Albiol, while striker Gerard Moreno made his debut.

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Despite the changes, La Roja started strongly and dominated the early exchanges, with Rodri and Thiago both coming close. However, after the first 20 minutes had passed, Sweden grew into the game and were unlucky not to have been ahead at the break. 

The second period saw Moreno's men start sluggishly, with the midfielders and forwards unable to impact the game. Instead, it was the home side who played with a greater intensity and they eventually took the lead, following some shoddy defending. From that moment, it was the expectation that the Spaniards would ramp up the pressure as they went in search of an equaliser.

However, this wasn't forthcoming and they looked lost for ideas. That was until substitute Rodrigo popped up in added time to poke home and break Swedish hearts. It was hardly a vintage Spanish performance, however.

Player Ratings

Starting XI: De Gea (8*); Carvajal (6), Albiol (5), Martinez (6), Beñat (6); Thiago (4), Rodri (5), Fabian (6); Oyarzabal (5), G. Moreno (6), Ceballos (4).

Substitutes: Kepa (5), Rodrigo (7), Navas (5).

STAR PLAYER - After some early Spain pressure, Sweden grew into the game and could very easily have been ahead at half time. However, David de Gea was at his best to keep the score level. The Manchester United number one produced an outstanding save to deny Quaison, reaching at full stretch to tip the ball away. 

Although he appeared to have hurt himself in the first half, he came out for the second 45 and continued to impress. Sweden broke forward at pace and although they eventually broke the deadlock, De Gea was left frustrated after his hard work was undone by some woeful defending. The shot-stopper produced a marvellous save to deny Berg, before immediately getting up to stop Emil Forsberg. 

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Despite his best efforts, he wasn't able to make a third, but it was world-class goalkeeping by the Spaniard. However, he was unable to complete the match, with the injury from the first half coming back to trouble him. This will be a major worry for both himself and his club, especially considering the fact that United will next take on Liverpool in a crucial match. 

Looking Ahead

Sweden are next in action on 15 November, and they will be travelling to face Romania in a crucial fixture as they look to automically qualify for Euro 2020. They then host the Faroe Islands a few days later, a match they will expect to win comfortably. 

Spain, meanwhile, will be hoping to round off their qualifying in style, as they take on Malta and Romania in the middle of November. 

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