A 2-1 win against Denmark has settled some nerves in the Spain camp, but fans are demanding a more convincing display against Iceland on Wednesday.
After making a miserable start to UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying - taking just three points from their first three Group F games - Luis Aragonés's side appeared to have found form against Denmark, with Fernando Morientes and David Villa scoring before the interval following Niclas Jensen's early dismissal.
However, the second half at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium was a major disappointment. Michael Gravgaard pulled a goal back for the ten-man Danes and the coach was widely criticised for making defensive substitutions as the hosts showed their intention of clinging on for victory.
El Mundo Deportivo wrote: "It's a good job Spain won because they looked disastrous. Denmark, with ten men, showed up the team's deficiencies and it's worrying." Sport remarked: "The win against Denmark has left a nasty aftertaste after a weak second half revealed lots of things that need correcting."
Aragonés did not leap to his team's defence. "We scored two goals and that's about it," said the 68-year-old. "I don't know why we were nervous, I'm not happy about that, and some players can't lose the ball like they did. It's not normal for Andrés Iniesta or David Silva to give the ball away. Some players were total strangers to me and we played such a bad second half."
Now fourth in the section, Aragonés will want to get the nation back on side as his team take on Iceland at the Son Moix Stadium in Mallorca - the stadium's first international fixture. The island authorities have promoted the game, the first between the countries, with the slogan: "We're going to melt them, put the heat on Iceland." With Sergio Ramos and Carles Puyol back from suspension, it looks a match Spain cannot lose, but FC Barcelona striker Eidur Gudjohnsen will remain a potent threat.
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