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Jun 7, 2019 at 7.45pm UK
Faroe Islands
1-4
Spain
Olsen (30')
FT(HT: 1-3)
Ramos (5'), Navas (19'), Gestsson (34' og.), Gaya (71')

Preview: Faroe Islands vs. Spain - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Friday's Euro 2020 qualifier between Faroe Islands and Spain, including team news and predicted lineups.

Spain will be looking to continue their 100% record in Group F when they face the Faroe Islands in their third Euro 2020 qualifier on Friday night.

La Roja have overcome Norway and Malta in their two Group F fixtures thus far and will be the overwhelming favourites to beat a Faroe Islands side that are listed 102nd in the FIFA rankings.


Faroe Islands

Faroe Islands defender Viljormur Davidsen celebrates scoring against Romania in March 2019© Reuters

Friday night will mark just the third meeting between Faroe Islands and Spain in international football. The two nations also locked horns during qualification for the 1998 World Cup - La Roja winning 6-2 away before recording a 3-1 victory on home soil more than a year later.

Landslioio were the huge underdogs entering those two fixtures and not much has changed more than 20 years later. It would certainly be one of the biggest shocks in history if Faroe Islands could find a way of overcoming Spain in the nation's capital on Friday night.

Faroe Islands are the fourth smallest UEFA country by population, while as mentioned, they currently sit 102nd in the FIFA rankings. Their highest spot was 74 in October 2016 but now perch outside of the top 100.

The fact that the country have never reached the finals of a World Cup or European Championship is not exactly a shock and they have not made the best of starts to their bid to qualify for Euro 2020.

Indeed, a 2-1 defeat away to Malta on March 23 was followed by a 4-1 loss at Romania three days later. Olsen's side now have three straight home games against Spain, Norway and Sweden, but it is difficult to imagine any points being collected ahead of their reverse clash with La Roja in September.

Faroe Islands won two of their 10 qualification matches for Euro 2016, which proved to be their joint-best campaign. Losing to Malta was a big blow, though, and as mentioned, they now have three tough fixtures ahead.

The fact that Landslioio have only won three international matches since the start of 2017 is a concern, particularly as a heavy defeat against Spain on Friday night would do little to improve their confidence.

Klaemint Olsen and Jakup Thomsen are the two out-and-out strikers in the squad but the pair have just one international goal between them. The leading scorer for Olsen's side is actually midfielder Hallur Hansson with four, which is another indication of the size of the task facing the hosts in this Group F contest.

Recent form: LL
Recent form (all competitions): LDLDLL


Spain

Spain's Marco Asensio is challenged by Malta's Joseph Mbong during their Euro 2020 qualifier on March 26, 2019© Reuters

Anything other than a comfortable victory on Friday night would lead to huge questions being asked in the Spain camp. Enrique's side have won both of their Group F fixtures thus far, although it would be fair to say that they have not been too impressive.

Indeed, a 2-1 home win over Norway on March 23 was followed by a 2-0 victory in Malta three days later. La Roja would have fancied their chances of running up a score against the latter. However, only a pair of Alvaro Morata goals saw La Roja triumph in Ta'Qali to move onto six points.

No longer able to call upon the likes of Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Gerard Pique, it is very much a different era for Spain. It would be fair to say that Enrique is still trying to work out a number of issues in the squad, particularly with the 2010 world champions lacking a world-class centre-forward.

Morata netted twice against Malta to make it 15 international goals, but Rodrigo Moreno and Iago Aspas - both excellent for their clubs last season - have just 11 strikes between them. Spain still have a seriously talented set of players, though, and should have more than enough to breeze through this section.

It has been a disappointing few years for Spain, having exited the 2014 World Cup in the group stages before being knocked out of last year's tournament in the round of 16. It is certainly worth remembering that they are three-time winners of the European Championships - including back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2012 - but they were eliminated from the 2016 competition in the first knockout round.

Enrique's side are currently top of Group F on six points, two points clear of second-placed Sweden, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup before losing to England. As a result, back-to-back wins over the Faroe Islands and Sweden in their next two games would place La Roja in a strong position.

Spain will then travel to Romania and host Faroe Islands in their next two qualifiers in September, by which point the 2019-20 campaign will be well underway. These qualifiers, the UEFA Nations League and the Copa America mean that a number of top-level players are not going to receive too much of a rest this summer.

In truth, though, Friday's clash in Torshavn should not be too taxing for a Spain team that have plenty of work to do if they are to seriously challenge for the Euro 2020 crown.

Recent form: WW
Recent form (all competitions): WLLWWW


Team News

Santi Cazorla in action for Villarreal on August 4, 2018© Reuters

Faroe Islands' XI is unlikely to look much different to the one that started against Romania last time out.

Hansson is expected to start in an advanced midfield role in support of lone forward Klaemint Olsen, with Thomsen starting on the bench for the home side.

Viljormur Davidsen scored his team's goal against Romania and will start in defence once again, while there should also be positions for Teitur Gestsson between the sticks and Odmar Faero at the back.

Santi Cazorla's inclusion was the standout news when the Spain squad was announced. The midfielder is back in the selection for the first time since November 2015 after finally managing to put his injury hell behind him. The 34-year-old will be desperate to play a part on Friday night, although it seems likely that any potential involvement will arrive from the bench.

The likes of David de Gea, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba were not involved against Malta but all three are expected to be named in the starting XI for this match.

Sergio Ramos missed the latter stages of the 2018-19 campaign through injury. The Real Madrid captain is fit to play for his national team, though, and should line up at the heart of the defence.

Madrid teammates Isco and Marco Asensio will also be hoping to feature as the pair look to put disappointing seasons behind them.

Faroe Islands possible starting lineup:
Gestsson; Rolantsson, Gregersen, Faero, Davidsen; Joensen, B Olsen, Hansson, Vatnsdal, Bartalsstovu; K Olsen

Spain possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Carvajal, Ramos, Hermoso, Alba; Parejo, Busquets, Isco; Rodrigo, Morata, Asensio


Head To Head

As mentioned above, Friday will be just the third ever meeting between the two nations.

Spain recorded a 6-2 victory away to the Faroe Islands back in September 1996, before running out 3-1 winners in the home fixture in October 1997, with both matches occurring during qualification for the 1998 World Cup.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Faroe Islands 0-4 Spain

It is very difficult to predict anything other than a comfortable away win on Friday night. Spain were not exactly brilliant against Malta last time out and will surely keen to send out a message in this match.



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Santi Cazorla celebrates scoring for Villarreal against Real Madrid on January 3, 2019.
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