Spain drew 1-1 against a resolute Greece side in their opening FIFA World Cup qualifying game. Spain failed to create clear-cut chances despite having more than 75% possession as Greece dug in and defended deep.
Alvaro Morata’s first half goal was equalized by Tasos Bakasetas from the penalty 10 minutes into the second half. Inigo Martinez made a rash challenge in the box and awarded a penalty to the Greeks.
Sergio Ramos is returning from a knee injury and has taken it slow to return to full fitness
Sergio Ramos, the Real Madrid and Spain captain made his 179th appearance in the national team only to be subbed off at the break. The move by the Spanish boss started rumours that Sergio Ramos had picked up a knock and was unfit to continue the 2nd half.
Ramos missed two months of club football with a knee injury, the 34-year-old star defender returning earlier this month for games against Elche and Atalanta before missing Madrid’s La Liga clash with Celta Vigo on Saturday due to a shin issue. However, Spain boss Luis Enrique has made clear that he had agreed with Sergio Ramos beforehand that the captain would only play the first half of La Roja’s 1-1 draw against Greece on Thursday night.
“Ramos is fine. We decided beforehand that he would only play the first half,” Luis Enrique confirmed in his post-match press conference.
Curiously, it was almost the same Spain XI that beat Germany 6-0, with the exception of Sergi Roberto and Pau Torres, yet Greece frustrated La Roja at times.
“The difference with Germany is in what they tried [to do],” Luis Enrique explained. “Every game has its difficulties. They defended very well.
“We lacked freshness and finesse in the final third of the pitch. It’s not my job to rate the draw. I don’t think we deserved to draw. I think that 1-0 was fair.