Mon, 11 Dec 2023

MADRID, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Spain will entertain Georgia in their final European Championship qualifying game on Sunday, knowing that a point will assure they go into the draw for the tournament as winners of Group A with a better chance of a top-seeding next summer in Germany.

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente will make wholesale changes to the team that won 3-1 in Cyprus on Thursday, in a game where Spain dominated the first half but relaxed their intensity after the break.

Players such as Alvaro Morata, Rodrigo Hernandez, Nico Williams, and Unai Simon sat out all of Thursday's game, with Rodri not even making it to the bench, but all four are expected to start in Valladolid's Jose Zorrilla Stadium.

Other players, such as Dani Carvajal and Ferran Torres, will also be in the starting line-up.

Georgia delivered one of their best displays in qualifying during the week and was only denied a win at home to Scotland by Lawrence Shankland's 93rd-minute equalizer after Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, who plays for Napoli, had twice put them ahead.

Giorgi Mamardashvili will be in goal for the Georgians, and the Valencia keeper has been in outstanding form for his club this campaign.

Mamardashvili and the rest of his team will be anxious to avoid a repeat of the 7-1 drubbing the Spanish inflicted on them in their first meeting in September, in a game which saw Morata score a hat-trick.

Spain managed 33 shots in that first meeting two months ago, and the fact that De la Fuente has kept key players fresh implies he is looking to end qualification on a high, and that Mamardashvili can expect another busy night on Sunday.

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