Spain will be looking to bounce back from disappointment against Iceland when when they meet Latvia at the Nuevo Carlos Tartiere stadium in Oviedo this evening.
Spain lie third in Group F in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2008™, level on points with Northern Ireland but three behind leaders Sweden, and will need to improve on their 1-1 draw with Iceland when they had Andrés Iniesta's late goal to thank for a point after playing 70 minutes with ten men following Xabi Alonso's early sending off.
After a poor start to their qualifying campaign a run of six matches without defeat had raised Spanish morale, but Saturday's draw in Reykjavik has put the pressure back on coach Luis Aragonés's side. "We would be making a grave mistake if we think we can beat teams easily and the results prove that," Aragonés said. "We could have won in Reykjavik even with ten players. We had the chance to put qualifying in our hands and we didn't make the most of our chances."
Valencia CF midfielder David Albelda is expected to come in for Xabi Alonso and Aragonés also has Cesc Fabregas available after suspension. With four matches to go in Group F there is little margin for error. "We're all in the same boat," said FC Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernández who is in line to win his 50th cap. "We're committed, our work is good and we believe in what we're doing. We have to analyse what happened in the first half against Iceland but there's no need to be alarmist either. Our only focus is on reaching the final tournament."
The draw with Iceland ended a run of four straight wins for Spain in Group F, and they now come up against a Latvia side buoyed by their surprise victory against Northern Ireland on Saturday. Latvia are fifth in the section, with six points from seven games.
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