World and European champions Spain come up against Belarus in their latest 2014 World Cup qualifier. The Spanish have found unheard of success in recent years, winning Euro 2008 the World Cup in 2010 and Euro 2012. Becoming the first team to win the title consecutive times.
Belarus haven't enjoyed the same level of success as their opposition have. Although they won the LG cup in 2002, beating Russia and Ukraine and in 2004 and 2008 they won the 12th and 14th editions of the Malta International Football Tournament.
Belarus played their first match as an independent nation after splitting from the Soviet Union in 1992 against Lithuania. Although the first FIFA recognized international was a friendly against Ukraine later that same year. They didn't win their first match until two years later in October of 1994 against Luxembourg. The team have never qualified for the World Cup or for a European Championship.
Spain have won all of their last five games, the closest they came to defeat was in the 0 – 0 draw with Portugal that ended up being resolved by penalties. They produced a stunning display to win Euro 2012, where they demolished Italy 4 – 0. Giving them the record of biggest margin of victory in a European Championship Final.
Spain last 5 results:
Georgia 0 – 1 Spain
Spain 5 – 0 Saudi Arabia
Puerto Rico 1 – 2 Spain
Spain 4 – 0 Italy
Portugal 0 – 0 Spain
Belarus haven't fared as well as Spain in recent times, but then again who has? They've only managed to win 1 of their last five games, losing two and drawing two. They also currently sit bottom of their qualification group, which doesn't bode well when it also contains France.
Belarus last 5 results:
France 3 – 1 Belarus
Georgia 1 – 0 Belarus
Armenia 1 – 2 Belarus
Belarus 1 – 1 Lithuania
Moldova 0 – 0 Belarus
Spain's star man award has to go to the little maestro Andres Iniesta. He was named player of the tournament at this years European Championship and won and also won the 2012 Best Player in Europe Award. His footballing brain is one to be marvelled at, with unparalleled vision he can create a goal scoring opportunity out of almost nothing, constantly moving into space to receive the ball and moving it on just as quick as he receives it.
Belarus obviously don't have the same calibre of players as Spain. But I'm going with one of Iniesta's former team mates Alexander Hleb. The skilful midfielder is 7th on the all time appearances list for Belarus and 10th on the goals scored list for his country.
The two teams have never previously met in a competitive match but Spain will not take Belarus lightly with World Cup qualification at stake, just as Belarus will be looking to claim the one of the biggest scalps in their countries footballing history by beating the Brazil 2014 favourites.
I have to go for a Spanish win. The gulf between these two sides is huge and obvious for anyone to see. Spain will be to strong, to quick and to clever for their opposition. Belarus could be in for a hiding if they are not at their best against the world and European champions.
Spain 4 – 0 Belarus