2022 QATAR

Spain coach Luis Enrique shrugs off pressure ahead of World Cup qualifier

Spain could see an automatic Qatar 2022 spot slip beyond their reach but coach Luis Enrique is not feeling nervous about tomorrow's meeting with Greece.

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Spain coach Luis Enrique shrugs off pressure ahead of World Cup qualifier
MIGUEL MORENATTI DIARIO AS

Spain coach Luis Enrique insisted that pressure is the last thing which might affect him ahead of Thursday's key 2022 World Cup qualifier against Greece.

Spain require a win in Athens

The 2010 world champions play their penultimate qualifier in Athens on Thursday, with an automatic place at Qatar 2022 potentially on the line. Should Sweden defeat Georgia in the earlier Group B match, Spain will be unable to knock them off top spot if they do not take all three points against Greece.

John van't Schip's side could still clinch a top-two finish if they beat Spain, whom they held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in March. Yet Luis Enrique does not believe the fear of missing out on a guaranteed place at next year's finals will disrupt their preparation. 

"I was born with pressure," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I've been dealing with pressure since I was 18 years old and I feel comfortable with it. After seeing how the team is training, I can only convey the confidence they give me. We've had pressure for every game. I haven't looked for an example in any other game. Greece are a really well organised team, that's the truth. In the reverse game we created few chances, fewer than we wanted. They play well and that's why we have to be good in pressing. I'll sign now for a game in which we keep the opposition trapped in their box."

Spain, two points behind Sweden in Group B

For Spain, the game has been compared to their Euro 2020 group match against Slovakia, when a 5-0 win sent them through to the knockouts behind Sweden after they drew their opening two games. If they win, they will head into their final game against Sweden knowing that finishing top of their group is still in their own hands.

"It's only one game," Luis Enrique continued. "We're not going to make the mistake of thinking it's Sweden. We'll think about Greece – nothing else exists. Spain are obliged to try to win every game. The obligation is to win every game and to do it with our weapons. There's always pressure to win. I'm really lucky, because after seeing the two training sessions at Las Rozas, I'm more than optimistic. The belief, the rhythm, the quality they have... I feel more than confident and calm when preparing and evaluating this game. I'm very fortunate to be the coach of a country that has at least 60 players of international standard, at least for me."