Sep 6, 2013 at 7.30pm UK
Finland
0-2
Spain
 
FT(HT: 0-1)
Alba (19'), Negredo (86')

Live Commentary: Finland 0-2 Spain - as it happened

Live Commentary: Finland 0-2 Spain - as it happened
© Getty Images
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the World Cup qualifier in Helsinki as Spain beat Finland 2-0.

Qualification for the 2014 World Cup continued on Friday as Finland welcomed Spain to Helsinki in Group I.

The home side contained Spain in the early stages, but Jordi Alba's 19th-minute strike sent the world and European champions into the lead.

Finland had chances to level in the second period, but Spain secured all the points late on when Alvaro Negredo finished from close range.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action.


Sort:
Newest
Oldest
7.01pmEvening all! Our attention switches to qualification for the 2014 World Cup this evening as Finland welcome Spain to Helsinki. The world and European champions will certainly enter the match as the favourites, but Finland are unbeaten in their last five matches in all competitions, a run of games that includes three competitive fixtures.

7.04pmAs mentioned, the two sides have already met in Group I with Finland gaining a 1-1 in Spain. Sergio Ramos’s header had given the home side the lead with 49 minutes on the clock, but a late strike from Teemu Pukki ensured that Finland picked up a share of the spoils. They will therefore take confidence into this fixture in Helsinki.

7.07pmTEAMS:

FINLAND: Maenpaa; Toivio, Moisander, Pasanen, Arkivuo; Schuller, Tainio, Halsti, Eremenko, Ring; Pukki

SPAIN: Casillas; Koke, Ramos, Albiol, Alba; Xavi, Suarez, Iniesta; Pedro, Fabregas, Villa


7.10pmSo there we have it. Two HJK players in the Finland XI this evening with Teemu Tainio and Rasmus Schuller both in the side. Spain boss Vicente del Bosque, meanwhile, has named three Atletico Madrid players in his starting team with Koke operating at right back. Raul Albiol, who joined Napoli from Real Madrid in the summer, also starts in defence.

7.13pmFinland currently sit third in Group I having won one, drawn three and lost one of their five fixtures thus far. They suffered defeat in their opener against France last September, before drawing with Georgia and Spain. Their first three points came against Belarus in June, but the return match in Gomel ended in a 1-1 draw.

7.16pmLooking ahead, following this match they travel to Georgia next week before ending their campaign away to France. To have a chance of progression, they will feel that they need to pick up all three points this evening. However, they have beaten Spain just once in seven previous meetings, with that win coming in the first ever World Cup qualification clash between the two sides in 1969.

7.19pmSpain, meanwhile, currently sit top of Group I on 11 points. They won all 10 of their qualification matches on their way to the last World Cup, before doing the same over eight fixtures to reach Euro 2012. That record cannot be matched this time around having drawn two of their five fixtures, but they will still be confident of topping the section ahead of France.

7.22pmThey opened their campaign with a 1-0 win in Georgia, before putting four past Belarus in Minsk. Back-to-back draws followed at home to France and Sweden, but they were 1-0 winners over France last time out in March. Three points this evening would go a long way to securing progression as they attempt to win their third consecutive major tournament.

7.25pmLooking ahead, unlike many teams, Spain are not in competitive action this week. Their last two group fixtures will take place in October, with home matches against Belarus and Georgia. La Roja did suffer disappointment in the Confederations Cup in the summer, however, with hosts Brazil claiming the trophy with a comprehensive 3-0 success at the end of June.

7.28pmHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. Following the completion of the pre-match handshakes and the exchanging of flags, we will be ready to get the action underway. In terms of my pre-match prediction, I would be surprised if Spain were not comfortable winners this evening.

0 minJust a reminder of the main team news this evening. Two HJK players in the Finland XI with Tainio and Schuller both in the side. Meanwhile, Pukki will lead their line. Spain boss Del Bosque has selected Koke at right back, with Fabregas operating in the number nine position. Right, the home side get the action underway on this mild evening in Helsinki.

2 minIt must be said that there is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this evening with the home supporters in good voice. It's good work from Eremenko as the midfielder drives into the box before evading Koke, but his cross is cleared by Ramos. Good start from the hosts, who have been bright and inventive in possession.

4 minThe first effort from Spain comes from Pedro as the Barcelona midfielder collects possession outside the box before attempting to curl one into the top corner, but Maenpaa is on hand to make the save. Finland attempt to break down the other end with Schuller, but Suarez stops the flow with a foul in midfield. End-to-end opening four minutes to proceedings in Helsinki.

6 minJust a few signs that Spain are starting to take control of the tempo with Alba and Koke both involved in advanced areas in the last couple of moments. The first corner of the match, which comes to the away side, is whipped towards the near post by Xavi, but Pasanen is on hand to make the clearance. No real chances for either side with six minutes on the clock in this Group I meeting.

8 minI think the opening eight minutes have shown us what to expect this evening. Spain in control of the possession, with Finland attempting to absorb the pressure. There is no question that the home side, especially in the shape of Pukki and Schuller, have players that can hurt Spain. Slightly scrappy last couple of moments with neither side creating too much of note in the final third.

10 minThe referee has been called into action in the last couple of moments to deal with a number of late challenges from both sides. The latest allows Xavi the opportunity to deliver a free kick into the box, but Maenpaa is out to collect under pressure from Ramos. Spain are in control of the ball, but they are yet to hurt Finland, who are nice and compact in defence.

13 minIt is like a training exercise at the moment with Spain attempting to pass their way through this stern defence. Alba and Koke are almost playing as wingers, with Ramos and Albiol left to defend. A dangerous cross from Pedro threatens to allow Villa a chance on goal, but Halsti is across to clear for a corner, which is headed clear by Moisander.

15 minCHANCE! Wonderful opportunity for the home side to take the lead as Ring dances into the Spain box before finding Pukki, but he cannot turn past Casillas from close range. The Spanish stopper might not be able to get into the Real Madrid side at the moment, but he is still a wonderful goalkeeper. Spain have dominated, but they should be 1-0 behind here.

17 minBit of a nervy moment for Maenpaa as the Finland goalkeeper comes to collect a Fabregas cross, but he spills it into the area, before gathering at the second time of asking. Plenty of possession for the likes of Suarez and Xavi, but Pedro and Villa have struggled to get into the match thus far. Still goalless with 17 minutes on the clock.

19 minSpain have just resorted to hitting the long ball in the last couple of moments, but Pedro and Fabregas have had no change out of this stern Finland defence. Anyone that thought Spain would turn up and turn the home side over has been sadly mistaken. As it stands, Finland are comfortable despite vast possession for the world and European champions.

19 minAgain Pukki is the danger man for the home side as he collects a high ball from Ring before striking an effort towards goal, but it was always rising high and wide of the crossbar. You just get the feeling that they need to take those kind of chances with Spain almost certain to find their rhythm at some point.

19 minGOAL! Finland 0-1 Spain (Alba)

20 minAnd there it is. Spain take the lead with 19 minutes on the clock as Alba collects a through pass from Iniesta before rounding the goalkeeper and slotting into the bottom corner. There are not too many left-backs who would remain that composed inside the box. Wonderful from the Barcelona defender.

22 minThat is the difference. Finland have had a couple of opportunities thus far, but have been unable to take them. Spain, however, score with their first real chance of the evening. You just get the feeling that the home side need to keep things tight for the next five minutes or so. Another Spain goal now would make it hard for them to turn it around.

25 minNot too much for the home supporters to get excited about in the last couple of moments with Spain in utter control of the possession. It's brilliant work once more from Alba as the defender drives down the left before finding a low cross into the box, but Halsti is on hand to make the challenge. Little over 20 minutes of the first period remaining in Helskini.

27 minBetter from Finland in the last couple of moments with Eremenko and Pukki both finding space in the final third. The former takes matters into his own hands moments later, but his effort is high and wide of the post. In truth, opening the match up would play into Spain's hands, but they cannot sit back and defend with a 1-0 deficit to overcome, even at this early stage.

29 minSlight problem for Albiol as the Napoli defender falls under pressure from Schuller, but he does return to his feet to defend the subsequent corner. A half-chance arrives for Villa moments later as the striker dances into the box, but he can only fire his effort wide of the post. That would have put the away side in a comprehensive position with 29 minutes on the clock.

32 minNot too much to report in terms of clear opportunities in the last couple of moments, but Spain remain in control of the possession. That said, Finland have shown enough to suggest that they can and will cause problems as the match advances. It is important that they stay within one goal of the world and European champions as we enter the final 15 minutes of the first period.

34 minHalf-chance for Spain as Iniesta dances into the penalty area before attempting to find a low pass towards Villa, but Halsti is across to clear at the vital moment. Villa is again involved moments later as he fires a low cross into the box, but it moves out for a throw. Little over 10 minutes of the first period remaining in Helsinki.

36 minPukki remains the most likely for the home side as the number seven combines with Eremenko before driving into the box, but Ramos is across with a fine challenge. Spain are down the other end moments later with Iniesta, who works it from left to right before sliding a low cross towards Fabregas, but Moisander is across to clear at the vital moment. Good tempo to the match with 36 minutes on the clock.

38 minAgain it's good work from Moisander as the left-back drives down the wing before spotting Pukki inside the box, but the striker can only turn his header over the crossbar. There is no question that Finland have had their moments. Spain have had the majority of the possession, but have created just a couple of clear opportunities thus far, one of which was taken by Alba.

41 minIt's good work from Villa as the Spain striker dances into the box before finding Iniesta, but Halsti is across with a fine challenge at the vital moment. Schuller has possession down the other end moments later, but his cross is into the arms of Casillas. Deafening noise inside the stadium with the home supporters in fine voice in the latter stages of the first period.

43 minMake no mistake about it, Finland are right in this match. Good few moments for the home side with the likes of Ring and Schuller enjoying plenty of the ball in the final third, but they have been unable to find that elusive pass. Where has this first period gone? It has flown past in Helsinki.

45 minConstant Spain pressure in the last minute or two with Alba and Koke both firing low balls into the box, but the home side continue to defend impressively. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional one minute at the end of the first period. Neither side will be too disappointed with their showing thus far.

45 min+1HALF-TIME: Finland 0-1 Spain

8.18pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Spain leading courtesy of that strike from Alba after 19 minutes. Aside from another Villa chance, Finland have had the best of the chances with Pukki twice coming close to finding the back of the net. They will certainly feel confident of causing Spain problems in the second 45 minutes.

8.23pmBENCH WATCH: Finland have a number of attacking options on their bench in the shape of Erfan Zeneli, Riki Riski and Jukka Raitala. Meanwhile, Spain have a wealth of riches with the likes of Alvaro Negredo, Isco, Roberto Soldado, David Silva, Jesus Navas... I could go on and on!

8.28pmSTATISTICS: Spain have dominated the possession with 76%, while they have had three attempts to Finland's two. There have been a few challenges, but the referee is yet to look to his notebook. As it stands, Spain would move onto 14 points from five six games.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. There is another Group I fixture taking place this evening with Georgia holding France to a 0-0 draw. For our English readers - Roy Hodgson's side are leading Moldova 2-0 at Wembley courtesy of goals from Steven Gerrard and Rickie Lambert. Right, Spain get the second 45 minutes underway.

48 minThere has been no changes for either side at the interval, which is not much of a surprise. It has been a bright start from Spain with Koke driving down the right before delivering a low cross into the box, but Halsti is on hand to make the clearance, before Pedro fires over the crossbar moments later.

50 minPatient build-up from the home side presents a half-chance to Pukki as the striker meets a low cross from Ring, but once more Casillas is on hand to make the safe. Just a reminder that the last time these two sides met, Pukki scored a late equaliser. Will lightening strike twice? Another Spain goal would surely wrap up the three points, even this early in proceedings.

53 minSchuller continues to cause problems in a wide area as the midfielder collects possession in a wide area before finding Tainio just outside the box, but his effort is into the arms of Casillas. Spain break down the other end with Pedro, but it breaks down with Fabregas. Still 1-0 with 53 minutes on the clock in Helsinki.

55 minPainful moment for Albiol as the Spain centre-back is clattered by Schuller, but he does return to his feet following a brief spell of treatment. You just get the feeling that Finland can sense something here as they continue to commit players in the final third. There is still plenty of time for things to change. I would be astounded if we had seen the last of the goals.

57 minIt's good work from Iniesta as the Barcelona midfielder combines with Pedro before driving into the box, but for once, his touch is too heavy, allowing Maenpaa out to collect. Fabregas attempts to slide a pass towards Koke moments later, but his cross is into the arms of the goalkeeper. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining in Helsinki.

59 minSpain look to their bench for the first time this evening as Jesus Navas replaces Villa. Safe to say that the Atletico Madrid striker is not best pleased with the decision. However, you can understand why it has been made. The world and European champions are in need of something different in the final third. Finland, however, are yet to look to their bench this evening.

62 minSuarez tries his luck from outside the box as he drives past Ring before attempting to curl one towards the top corner, but it was always rising high and wide of the crossbar. I suspect that we could see the home side make a change if the scores remain the same in the next five minutes or so. Still plenty of time for the picture to change this evening.

64 minAlba again attempts to force the issue as the left-back collects possession outside the box before striking one towards the top corner, but it was always rising high and wide of the crossbar. Finland are down the other end with Eremenko moments later, but Albiol is across to clear for a corner. End-to-end football with 64 minutes on the clock.

67 minCHANCE! The home supporters think that their country have equalised as the net rustles, but Tainio's header just drops the wrong side of the post. That is the danger for Spain. It has been a far from convincing performance from the world and European champions.

69 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Ring beats the offside trap before advancing into the box, but he can only fire his effort high and wide of the crossbar under pressure from Albiol. Spain are down the other end moments later with Navas, but his cross is into the arms of the goalkeeper. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining.

72 minCouple of half-chances for Spain with Alba and Suarez both having attempts from inside the box, but neither has really threatened to find the back of the net. Double change for the home side moments later as Hamalainen and Riski replace Ring and Tainio. There is no question that there is something in this match for Finland. Spain have been average, but they lead as we approach the latter stages of this World Cup qualifier in Group I.

74 minSpain look to their bench for the second time this evening and again it is a Manchester City player that enters with Alvaro Negredo replacing Fabregas, who has struggled to influence proceedings in Helsinki. Good possession for the home side in the last couple of moments, but they are struggling to find an end product.

76 minCHANCE! Wonderful opportunity for Spain to put this game to bed as Xavi finds Negredo inside the box, but the Manchester City striker is denied by a fine save from Maenpaa. That should have been number two. Ramos has a strike from close range moments later, but it was always moving wide of the post.

78 minCHANCE! The chances are starting to come for both sides as we enter the latter stages. Again it is Pukki that collects a pass from Schuller before attempting to find the bottom corner, but Casillas is on hand to make the save. You just get the feeling that there is going to be late drama this evening.

81 minJust a reminder that both managers have made two changes as we enter the final 10 minutes of football. It's good work from Pedro as the Spanish winger drives past Pasanen before finding a low cross into the box, but Maenpaa is out to collect at the vital moment. Iniesta collects outside the box, but Eremenko fells the Barcelona midfielder.

83 minHalf-chance for Pedro as the winger strikes a low effort from outside the box, but it was always moving past the post. That proves to be his last action, however, as he is replaced by Cazorla. Finland also make a change with Zeneli replacing Pukki.

85 minNot too much to report in terms of opportunities in the last few moments with Spain in possession of the ball. Both managers have played all their cards this evening and therefore it is now over to the players. Time is not on Finland's side, however, as we enter the final five minutes of normal time.

86 minGOAL! Finland 0-2 Spain (Negredo)

87 minSpain put this game to bed in the final five minutes as Navas drives down the left before finding his Manchester City teammate Negredo, who finishes into the top corner. Stunning counter attack from the away side. That has certainly secured all the points for Del Bosque's side.

89 minYou just get the feeling that Finland have missed a trick this evening. Spain have not been at their best there is no question about that. However, good teams win when they are not playing well. I say good teams, I mean world and European champions. Little over one minute of normal time in Helsinki.

90 min+2The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes at the end of the match and we are indeed into the second of those. Not too much has happened in the last couple of moments with Spain in control of the possession, but Suarez has picked up a yellow card. Little over one minute remaining.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Finland 0-2 Spain

9.22pmSo there we have it. Goals from Alba and Negredo secure all three points for Spain in this Group I clash. Finland had their moments, but the world and European champions have moved onto 14 points after six matches. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to stick around the site for the rest of the World Cup qualifiers. Good evening!

Spain's coach Vicente del Bosque during the Confederations Cup against Italy on June 27, 2013
Read Next:
Report: Suarez to start for Spain
>
You May Like
Recomended from Sports Mole



Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City54101621413
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd54101621413
3Chelsea531185310
4Newcastle UnitedNewcastle53026429
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs52217348
6Huddersfield TownHuddersfield52215328
7Burnley52216518
8Liverpool52219908
9Southampton52214408
10West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom52214408
11Watford522179-28
12Arsenal521278-17
13Stoke CityStoke512256-15
14Swansea CitySwansea512225-35
15Leicester CityLeicester511379-24
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton511347-34
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham5113410-64
18Everton5113210-84
19Bournemouth510439-63
20Crystal Palace500508-80
LIVE SCORES VIDEPRINTER
expand