Cyprus vs Spain Match Analysis & Prediction
16/11/2023 8:00 pm
Already assured of a spot at next year’s Euro 2024 finals, Spain’s second-last qualifying Group A game takes place on Thursday night, as they face Cyprus at the Alphamega Stadium.
While the visitors are now in a two-horse race with Scotland for top spot, the final whistle cannot blow soon enough for the hosts on the back of a calamitous campaign.
Trying and failing to qualify for the Euros 15 times in a row, Cyprus have been the resident whipping boys in Group A and are at risk of ending another doomed preliminary campaign with the worst defensive record the continent has to offer.
Cyprus have been beaten in all seven of their Group A matches so far while scoring just two goals and shipping an alarming 25 – only San Marino have a worse defensive record, and even then the microstate have let in just one more goal.
Furthermore, Cyprus and San Marino enter November’s fixtures as two of the five teams without a win in Euro 2024 qualifying – an unwanted feat shared by Liechtenstein, Malta and Gibraltar – although Temur Ketsbaia’s side did test Georgia goalkeeper Giorgi Mamardashvilli on a few occasions last time out..
However, after failing to make their opportunities count, Cyprus were subjected to a second-half onslaught from Willy Sagnol’s side, who claimed a 4-0 victory through goals from Khvicha Kvaratskhelia, Otar Kiteishvili, Levan Shengelia and Georges Mikautadze.
That defeat marked a sixth Group A loss on the bounce for Cyprus and the basement side will simply aim to avoid one last demolition job before consigning their doomed run to history against Lithuania in Sunday’s friendly.
While Cyprus have largely been kept quiet on the attacking front since Group A kicked off, Norway’s Erling Haaland has inevitably led the charge for his nation Norway, but even he lost his irrepressible qualities when Spain came to town last month.
As Haaland cut an anonymous figure in the final third, Spain were left to rue one VAR call in the first half as an Alvaro Morata tap-in was ruled out for offside, but Gavi found the mark four minutes into the second half to confirm a top-two finish for Luis de la Fuente’s side.
A total of 15 points from 18 on offer has Spain level with Scotland, and the two teams cannot be separated in any head-to-head statistical category either – having each beaten the other 2-0 in Group A – but La Roja’s superior goal difference has them clinging onto first position.
While their flights have already been booked, La Roja ought not to rest on their laurels while top spot is at stake – such a position would potentially lead to a more favourable draw for them – and De la Fuente’s rejuvenated team bring a six-game winning run with them to Limassol.
Cyprus vs. Spain Head to head
In the nine previous meetings between these two teams, Cyprus have claimed one victory while Spain have won eight. Cyprus have scored five goals and conceded 41 in the process.
Cyprus Team News
There is a notable absentee from the Cyprus squad for November’s internationals, as 12-goal attacker Pieros Sotiriou – who sits joint-third in his nation’s all-time scoring charts – will be unavailable this month.
Veteran attacker Demetris Christofi is nowhere to be seen either, piling more pressure onto the shoulders of 20-year-old Loizos Loizou, who has just a single goal to show from 25 senior appearances so far.
Cyprus's Last 5 Matches
Spain Team News
Several notable players are missing from the ranks either through injury or De la Fuente’s tactical choices, including Aymeric Laporte, Kepa Arrizebalaga, Alejandro Balde, Marco Asensio, Pedri and Ansu Fati.
With qualification wrapped up, De la Fuente has taken a punt on four uncapped players in Alex Grimaldo, Alex Remiro, Rodrigo Riquelme and Aleix Garcia.
Spain's Last 5 Matches
18/06/2023Croatia0Spain0(P)UEFA Nations League
Cyprus vs. Spain: Odds and Predictions
Handicap Cyprus (+3.5): Yes
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