The European Qualifier between Spain and Macedonia will take place at the Ciutat de València in Valencia, Spain on Monday, September 9th, 2014 at 11.45am Pacific.
The road to France starts now for the defending champions. While the teams have only met three times in their history, it looks like Spain shouldn’t have any trouble winning again. Both teams are in Group C with Ukraine, Slovakia, Belarus and Luxembourg. The qualifiers will end in October 2015, with the play-offs set to be played in mid-November. Spain will try to retain their title, and Macedonia will fight to qualify for the first time.
After a disastrous World Cup, a revolution was needed. In the first match since Brazil 2014, La Roja lost against France. With many new faces, but with the same old style of play, the team won possession, yet failed to shoot on target. Diego Costa can’t find his place and the midfield is adapting to new leaders. Macedonia shouldn’t pose much of a threat. However, the team needs to win and prove to everyone that Brazil is in the past.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque has been under a lot of pressure. Nevertheless, the squad he called up for this international break was well received. With five men making their debut against France, there’s a lot of new and young blood. The mix between the new ones and the experienced ones should be positive. While still struggling to find their form, it’s only a matter of time before the pieces start to work.
The midfield will be essential in this match. Since Diego Costa has suffered an injury, the creativity in that line will be extremely important. Not only do they need to generate chances, but finish them as well. The 4-5-1 formation looks to be the chosen one, with the team potentially looking like this: Casillas; Carvajal, Bartra, Ramos, Jordi Alba; Pedro, Busquets, Silva, Koke, Cazorla; Cesc.
From the former Yugoslavia, this country declared its independence in the early 1990s. While Yugoslavia was a strong team, the nations that emerged after the separation have struggled. Macedonia is one of the weakest ones of that group, failing to qualify to any major tournament since its creation.
The team has never even been close to play-offs, yet they still aren’t a rival to be underestimated. Big teams tend to take this matches lightly, and then end up suffering. Agim Ibraimi is definitely the man to watch from the Red Lions. This talented winger is the only one in the squad to be on a Champions League team. Spain’s defensive problems could make him shine, so he should be given a lot of attention.
Spain vs Macedonia Prediction
Having never conceded a goal in competitive matches against them, Spain is the clear favorite to win the game. The game will be dominated by La Roja no doubt. Even so, their shot accuracy needs to improve drastically. Ball possession means nothing if you can’t add to the scoreboard. Still, the level of talent in this squad is very high.
Spain 2 – 0 Macedonia
Spain vs Macedonia TV Schedule
The game will be broadcast on ESPN Deportes and online through ESPN 3. For your local time please check here.