Spain defeated Kosovo, 3-1, at the “La Kratuja” stadium in Seville, in the third round matches of the second group of European World Cup 2022 qualifiers in Qatar.
Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres and Gerard Moreno scored the goals for Spain, while Basir Halimi scored the only goal for Kosovo.
The victory brought Spain to the seventh point at the top of the Group Two standings, beating Sweden, which has 6 points from two matches, while Kosovos balance was frozen at none.
Before the match
On February 17, 2008 Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. The declaration was made unilaterally without Serbian approval and caused conflicting reactions. Spain was one of 65 countries out of 168 members of the United Nations that did not recognize the independence of Kosovo.
Spain’s position is justified, as its recognition of Kosovos independence means its recognition of the independence of the Catalonia and Basque regions for independence.
In 2016, Kosovo became a member of FIFA, and played its first official matches.
Despite the beginning of the Spanish calm in Kosovar with time, which reached an official statement by Spain that it agreed to recognize Kosovo in the event that Serbia recognized its independence, but that match ignited the situation again.
The Spanish Football Federation account on Twitter announced Luis Enrique’s squad for the match, writing “Our list to face Kosovo.”
Spain’s tweet angered Kosovo. The Kosovar Football Association issued an official statement saying, “Spain’s approach to Kosovo has been destructive since its independence in 2008.”
“Kosovo is a sovereignty recognized by most developed and democratic countries around the world.”
Spain’s attempts to belittle Kosovo are unfair and will be in vain.
“We will not play the match without playing our national anthem and raising the Kosovar flag.”
And the crisis did not end here. At the press conference before the match, a Spanish journalist asked a question to the coach of Kosovo, and the media spokesperson answered by saying to whom did you ask this question? Then he said to the coach, he replied, “Who coach?” I don’t see my name in your newspapers.
In the end, the Spanish journalist said the question was directed at the Kosovo coach.
During the match
The accounts of the Spanish Football Association did not write “Kosovo” again, but they did not write the name Kosovo in the first place. They announced the formation with “Spain for the match” without mentioning the identity of the opponent. As well as in the match tweets of goals and substitutions.
The Kosovar national anthem was actually played, and the flag was raised, but the Spanish provocations did not stop.
It is common knowledge that the abbreviations for teams and teams are written in capital letters such as “ESP” for Spain or “BRA” for Brazil.
Spanish television reported the match, and wrote the abbreviation for the Kosovo national team in small letters.
Luis Enrique started with Unai Simone in goalkeeping, while Alvaro Morata led the attack alongside Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres, and captain Sergio Ramos was on the bench.
Description of the match
Dani Olmo was the first to pose the risk in the fifth minute. He launched on the left flank, then shot a powerful ball, R2, which passed just above the goal.
Jordi Alba exchanged the ball in a wonderful way with Kuki in the eighth minute, then a cross at Moratas head, but Samir Ojkani, the Kosovo goalkeeper, came out of his own goal and saved the situation in the last minute.
Morata almost scored again in the 22nd minute from inside the penalty area, but Ojkan saved it brilliantly.
Two consecutive goals
Thanks to Spain’s experience, they were able to meet in three minutes.
Spain scored the first in the 34th minute, after a pass from Jordi Alba to Dani Olmo. Olmo got the ball and shot
Ferran Torres finished off the match quickly in the 36th minute after a pass from Pedri to Ferrand Torres on the right side, and Torres hit the left of the goalkeeper, recording the second.
Spain almost scored again in the 39th minute, but Ojcan confronted Moratas danger, to end the first half with Spain advancing two goals to none.
Spain also started the second half strongly. Ferran Torres almost scored in the 52nd minute, but Ogcani continued to shine and blocked his ball.
Dani Olmo also threatened in the 53rd minute, but his ball went past the post.
Here, Bernard Challinds intervened and made his first substitutions by entering Lerrit Castrate instead of Milot Rushica in the 55th minute.
Then, Arbir Zinelli, replaced Benjamin Cololi, in the 57th minute.
Pedri gave a great return in the 59th minute and fired from inside the penalty area, but Ojkani tackled it.
Luis Enrique also intervened in the 69th minute, pushing Fabian Ruiz and Gerard Moreno for Pedri, and Alvaro Morata.
In the 70th minute, Kosovo scored a historic goal. Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Unai Simon went out to cut a ball, and the ball went to Basir Halimi, who received the ball and shot from the middle of the field against Spain.
The goal of Kosovo was not enough to return, but it was historic for what it means to score in Spain’s goal.
Spain did not prevent the guest time to think about returning, so the goal was to kill the match in the 75th minute by Gerard Moreno again from a corner by Koke, and Moreno met her with a header in the net, scoring the third.
Jordi Alba almost finished third in the 77th minute after a wonderful breakthrough, then a cross Moreno almost reached her to score the fourth.
Sergio Canales and Rodri came out in place of Dani Olmo, and Sergio Busquets in the 82nd minute.
The last substitution was in the 86th minute, with captain Sergio Ramos entering instead of Eric Garcia. Entry without the 180th participation with Spain for the 35-year-old.
Kosovo almost scored again in the 88th minute through Castraki after a pass by Zeneli, but Alba came back at the last minute and saved the ball in front of him, to end the match with Spain winning 3-1.
_ _ _
In another match in the group, Greece tied Goria with one goal per team. Greece advanced in the 76th minute with a counter-goal scored by Uttar Kakabzadi by mistake, and the guests tied through Khrishva Kafratskali in the 78th minute, to end the match with a goal for each team.
Spain’s victory raised its score to the seventh point at the top of the Group Two standings, beating Sweden, which has 6 points from two matches, while Kosovos balance was frozen at none.
Greece is third in the standings with two points from two games, and Georgia is third with a point from three games.