Greece 0-1 Spain summary: score, goals, highlights | World Cup qualifier
Greece vs Spain
A solid rather than sparking display from Luis Enrique's men tonight who will be delighted with the win and even more delighted with the pre-game boost as the result from Batumi came in with group B leaders Sweden losing to Georgia 2-0. The group is set for a grandstand finish in Seville on Sunday with a win or a draw good enough for Spain and Sweden needing a win.
The whistle sounds and Spain claim maximum points with Pablo Sarabia's spot kick in the first half the difference between the sides.
Fans making for the exit signs now in Athens ... The Greek dream is over and Spain march on, one step closer to the Qatar World Cup
Corner for Spain.... Fornals in no hurry to take
Giorgos Tzavellas carded
Spain haven't got the same fizz they displayed in the first 45' but it has to be said too that Greece have offered very little tonight. One or two bright passages of play from the men in white but by and large, not a performance that would warrant a team progressing in the competition.
We'll have five minutes of added time.
Greece minutes away from bidding farewell to any slender hopes that remained of sneaking a play-off place.
Greece almost break through and Unai Simon is alert and averts the danger. Azpilicueta replaces Martinez.
Iñigo Martinez seems to be struggling as Azpilicueta gets ready to replace the central defender.
Koke clipped, free for Spain.
Attack the best form of defence for Luis Enrique's men look for the second goal that would kill this contest off. The second half has lacked flow and fluidity with the changes not really helping the game as a spectacle.
What this scoreline does, is set up Sunday's game perfectly with a draw or win against Sweden good enough for Spain to advance to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Just over ten left and the Greek fans find their voice again as they sense time is not on their side.
Carvajal carded as he pulls back a Greek striker
Pelkas on for Greece as Bouchalakis makes way
Good work from Greece as they sense time ticking away and force a corner.
Rodri sees the target but his shot was high and wide.
Just less than 20' remain in Athens and Spain look very much in charge with Unai Simon enjoying a placid evening. Just the scare of the disallowed goal from the Greek side throughout the entire game.
Possession stats: Greece 31-69 Spain (%)
Rodrigo breaks into the box and pulls his shot wide. The changes have affected the rhythm of the game with Spain not being allowed to dominate possession as they were in the first 45'.
Change for Greece, Limnious on for Dimitris Giannoulis
Rodrigo has looked bright since his arrival in the game. The Leeds United striker looks anxious to impress tonight.
Fornals on too for Morata.
Gavi looks like he'll be swapped after getting a bang to the face. Busquets his replacement.
Gavi is down and needs medical attention. The doctor is checking his cheek bone for any damage.
Spain are really doing their bit in depriving the home side with any time on the ball as they look to close down the men in white as they try and string a passing game together.
Approaching the 60 minute mark and Greece have upped their tempo ever so slightly as they look for an equaliser that would keep any outside hope of progressing alive. Goutas carded for a rash challenge.
Rodrigo and Olmo come on with Sarabia and debutante RDT.
Tsimikas carded as he slices through Sarabia. Dani Olmo poised to come on.
Greece press and win a corner as Carvajal deflects an effort from Siopis.
Still, whilst it remains just 0-1 here, Spain can't afford to switch off and will want to push on and find the second and ensure that the men in red keep the Greek side at bay at the same time.
Spain are looking composed and in control but it really was Georgia who did the homework for Luis Enrique's men tonight with a surprise 2-0 win over Sweden in Tiblisi earlier.
Sarabia carded for clipping an opponent.
Pavlidis also off for Greece with Douvikas his replacement.
The teams return to the pitch and it looks like Greece have made a switch at break. Tzolis is on for Masouras.
Far from the 300 Spain fans anticipated too with a very poor turnout here tonight in Athens ... a vast Olympic stadium and at a guess, I'd estimate no more than 7-10,000 fans present.
Group live table at the break
The Sarabia spot kick sees Spain move to the top of the table with the current scoreline also ending any aspirations Greece have of progressing to a play-off spot.
Spain shading the game in terms of possession and carving out the better chances but it's really in the central area where Spain are on top as they dominate the ball. Raul de Tomas has looked good on his debut and Gavi and Rodri are pulling strings in midfield.
The whistle sounds at the Olympic stadium in Athens and Spain go in 0-1 ahead at the interval.
Mantalos looks to thread the ball through but mis-reads his team mate and Unai Simon gathers.
We'll have two minutes of time to be added on.
The clock ticking towards the 45 minute mark and Spain (just about) good value for their lead. Once again Spain are totally in control as they try and anesthetize their opposition with the passing game.
Play held up after Mantalos seemed to twist his knee as he collided with Morata.
Sergio Busquets warming up for Spain on the touchline. 17 year old Gavi has been excellent tonight, Luis Enrique a fan of these young central playmakers as is the case with Pedri too.
Spain press, Rodri shoots and Greece manager to avert the danger.
Morata almost makes it two ....great work from the Juve man who weaves into the box and forces a fine stop from the Greek stopper
First card of the night is awarded to Siopis for back-chat
Less than 15' of the first half remain. Spain very much in control now depriving the home side of the ball.
Gaya tries his luck from long range but easy for Odysseas Vlachodimos to gather.
GRE 28%-72 ESP (correct possession stat)
Decent hit from the PSG man and an air of annoyance is palatable from the home fans who have seen their side have a goal chalked off for offside and then moments later, Spain are awarded a soft spot kick.
VAR set to revise the passage of play and determine if Spain get the spot kick following a Greek handball.
The Polish ref. points to the spot.
Raul de Tomas shoots and the ball takes a deflection as it headed for the goal. Nice turn and shot from the Espanyol forward.
The disallowed goal has reignited the home fans as they find their voice again.
Giorgos Masouras it was who broke free and was marginally offside as he drilled the ball past Simon in the Spain goal. A major warning to 'La Roja'
Gooooool. No.... the flag is up.... VAR to be consulter
Luis Enrique recriminating his men, the Asturian not overly delighted with what he has seen so far. Spain have been composed and look the better side but as is the case, lack a final cutting edge.
Raul de Tomas has looked assured so far in his debut here in the Greek capital. Nothing fancy from the Espanyol striker but just then he was presented with a great chance but hesitated and was robbed in the box.
I do have serious doubts about Opta getting that graphic right... surely Spain bossing possession rather than Greece ?!?!
Georgia really have taken a layer of pressure off Spain with 'La Roja' now aware that 4 points from these two game will be enough. Spain could even lose tonight and beat Sweden and still advance as group leader. In terms of momentum and positivity, Luis Enrique will be looking for his men to win both games.
Spain in default Luis Enrique mode now with the solid passing game in full flow... some may say 'over-passing' game and occasionally 'La Roja' do lack that final thrust !
Thanasis Androutsos looking lively down the right flank for Greece.
Spain finally getting their passing game together with Gavi and Rodri at the heart of the operation.
Spain do have the back-door option of making the playoffs by virtue of reaching the final of the Nations League but Luis Enrique himself admitted that having to secure the ticket to Qatar via the playoff system is something of a 'minefield'.
Despite being few in number in the vast stadium, the home supporters are in fine voice as their site start well.
All set in Athens, the whistle sounds and Spain kick-off
Greece face Kosovo in their final game of the campaign on Sunday and that game coincides with the massive potential group decider as Spain play Sweden in Seville.
A reminder of how Group B looks pre-game. Top team progress straight to the 2022 World Cup with the runner-up heading to the play-off. A second place finish still possible for the Hellenic side.
The teams take to the pitch. Spain in their classic red shirts/blue shorts and socks. Greece with their all white kit with blue trimmings. Only the bottom tier of the Olympic Stadium being used tonight, obviously Greece's long shot status in securing second place deterring local fans.
It's a fresh November evening in the Greek capital with a current temperature of 12C/54F and no rain forecast during the contest.
Despite the pre-game prevision of 30,000-40,000 fans here tonight, with kick-off less than ten minutes to go until the start of the action, there are very few people here in the seats at the Olympic Stadium.
Despite having a 70,000 capacity, 40,000 fans will be permitted to watch the action at the Olympic Stadium tonight in Athens with 300 Spain fans expected.
Greece XI: Tsimikas starts again at centre back alongside Tzavellas and debutant Goutas, while Mantalos replaces captain Bakasetas in the attacking midfield position
Szymon Marciniak (Poland) is tonight's designated match official
- Dimitrios Giannoulis
- Dimitrios Goutas
- Thanasis Androutsos
- Konstantinos Tsimikas
- Manolis Siopis
- Petros Mandalos
- Giorgos Masouras
- Vangelis Pavlidis
If following the Greece-Spain game in Spanish is your preferred option, the Grecia-España game in the language of Cervantes can be followed here
Tiblisi win boost for 'La Roja'
Georgia ended their qualifying campaign in style with a 2-0 win against group B leaders Sweden with both goals coming in the second half. The surprise result is a boost for both Spain and Greece with 'La Roja' now just needing 4 points from the games against Greece and Sweden to seal their Qatar 2022 ticket. Greece can still secure a second place finish but to do that the locals need to beat Spain in Athens tonight.
Interesting to see Raul de Tomas make his debut tonight in Athens as the Espanyol striker was only drafted into the squad after Ansu Fati was forced out via injury.
Luis Enrique pre-game
"Luis Enrique 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.
"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."
The 2010 world champions are in action in Athens tonight with an automatic place at Qatar 2022 potentially on the line.
At present Sweden are losing to Georgia in the earlier Group B match and this will offer a major boost to Spain.
John van't Schip's side could still clinch a top-two finish if they beat La Roja, whom they held to a 1-1 draw in the reverse fixture in March with everything to play for in the Greek capital tonight.
The action at the OAKA Stadium gets underway at 14:45 ET/20:45 CET.
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the penultimate World Cup qualifying match in Group for both Greece and Spain who go head to head tonight in Athens.