UEFA Nations League

Spain's Nations League finals hopes rest on Germany win

Spain's 1-1 draw with Switzerland, in which Sergio Ramos missed two penalties, leaves Luis Enrique's side needing to beat Germany in their final game.

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Spain's Nations League finals hopes rest on Germany win
FABRICE COFFRINI AFP

Switzerland have once again placed an obstacle in the path of Spain, as they did at the 2010 World Cup. There, in the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, the European champions and one of the pre-tournament favourites were dealt a blow when Gelson Fernandes inflicted defeat in the opening round of fixtures in Group H. Spain would go on to win the World Cup after defeating Germany in the semi-finals and Luis Enrique’s side will need history to repeat itself to secure their passage to the final four of the UEFA Nations League after again coming unstuck at the hands of the Swiss.

Sergio Ramos took the headlines on Saturday for becoming the most-capped European player of all time, but the Real Madrid defender also missed two penalties as Spain drew 1-1 with Switzerland in the St. Jakob-Park. Germany, meanwhile, came from behind in Leipzig to defeat Ukraine 3-1 and move to the top of Group 4 with one round of fixtures remaining that will pit Luis Enrique against Joachim Löw in a direct shoot-out for a place in the finals.

Spain cannot afford slip-ups in Seville

The maths for Spain is fairly straightforward: nothing less than a victory over Germany will do. A draw will not be sufficient for La Roja to progress and Enrique will be ruing his side’s 1-0 loss in Ukraine, although the panorama could be considerably worse but for late goals from José Luis Gayà in Germany and Gerard Moreno in Switzerland. Germany too have ridden their luck; a 3-0 deficit against Switzerland was eventually overturned for a point and Löw’s side did not have it easy away in Ukraine either.

Spain will enjoy home advantage for the game, which will be staged at La Cartuja in Seville, where the in-form Timo Werner will provide a tortuous afternoon for Enrique’s back line. All eyes will no doubt be on the spot should Spain be awarded a penalty though.