• Spain's news in English

Champions Spain held at home by feisty Finland

AFP · 23 Mar 2013, 10:10

Published: 23 Mar 2013 10:10 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The hosts endured a frustrating first 45 minutes as they struggled to find a way through a camped Finnish defence, but they appeared on their way to victory when Sergio Ramos headed them in front on his 100th cap four minutes into the second-half.

However, they failed to build on their advantage and were made to pay when a good move from the Finns resulted in Pukki prodding home from close range.

The hosts were without the experienced trio of Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol and Xavi through injury so Ramos was also given the honour of captain for the evening.

However, the hosts didn't look like they would miss their veterans as they started brightly and were nearly gifted a goal inside two minutes when only a fine save from Niki Menp prevented Niklas Moisander turning David Silva's driven cross into his own net.

Thereafter though the first-half was tale of Spanish shots from distance as the visitors retreated onto the edge of their own area.

Cesc Fabregas was first to have a go as he curled a shot wide of the far corner before driving another effort just wide of the target.

Santi Cazorla then forced Menp into a decent low save with an angled drive, but the Arsenal midfielder should have opened the scoring when he blazed over from close range.

Silva and Andres Iniesta also went close with long-range effort towards the end of the half, but despite the return of David Villa from injury they were lacking the penetration needed to find a way through.

Vicente Del Bosque acted at half-time by bringing on Pedro Rodriguez, who had scored nine times in his last six internationals, for Cazorla.

The Barcelona winger had an immediate effect as his deflected shot from a short corner fizzed just wide.

And from the resulting corner Ramos rose highest to head in his ninth international goal.

Story continues below…

Villa then failed to delight the home fans on his return to the city he started his career as his free-kick drifted over before he was replaced by Alvaro Negredo to rapturous applause.

Ramos came close again with a header that looped just over but Spain were stunned 12 minutes from time when a patient move saw Pukki get in front of Ramos and Gerard Pique to poke home Kasper Hamalainen's cross from the left.

Pique twice headed just off target and Juan Mata also flashed a volley over as the hosts laid a late seige.

However, the visitors held on to leave Spain most likely needing to win their next qualifier against France in Paris on Tuesday to avoid having to qualify for next year's World Cup via the playoffs.

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's 'Napflix' aims to bore viewers to sleep
Photo: Screengrab/ Napflix

A Spanish video platform called Napflix, designed to put people to sleep with dull content, was launched this week and its founders are on the lookout for more "monotony and repetition."

Recipe: How to make fabada - traditional Asturian bean stew
Photo: Flavio Lorenzo Sánchez/Flickr

The hearty Asturian dish is a perfect lunch on a cold day... and don't forget the crusty bread and cider!

Brit 'paedo' held on Costa del Sol after Most Wanted appeal

One of Britain's most wanted fugitives was arrested on the Costa Del Sol following a tip-off from an expat just hours after his face appeared on a public appeal.

Spain's parliament approves deficit reduction measures
Photo: Images Money/Flickr

Spanish lawmakers approved on Thursday measures to reduce the public deficit and keep it under the target agreed with the European Union.

'Cubism and War' show opens at Barcelona Picasso Museum
Pablo Picasso Harlequin and Woman with a Necklace. Photo: MP

Barcelona's Picasso Museum unveiled an exhibition on "Cubism and War" on Thursday depicting how one of the most influential artistic styles of the 20th century survived the First World War.

Why this bionic limb pioneer doesn't believe in disability
Hugh Herr has been award Spain's top science prize. Photo: FPA

The Local speaks to Hugh Herr on winning Spain's top science prize and how being an amputee doesn't make him disabled.

Dine in the buff at Spain's first nudist restaurant
A buffet of organic food will be served on "human tables". Photo: Innato / Facebook

Spain's first naked dining experience is to arrive on the island of Tenerife following the success of a similar venture in London.

Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Photo: AFP

Spain's Constitutional Court on Thursday cancelled a bullfighting ban in Catalonia in what is likely to exacerbate tensions between Madrid and the separatist region, and between animal activists and fans of the tradition.

Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Eta members made a ceasefire declaration in January, 2011. Photo: Gara / AFP

Five years after armed separatist group Eta declared a permanent ceasefire, Basque journalist Alberto Letona is still wondering when the dialogue will begin.

Hunt for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Call Crimestoppers if you recognize these faces.

These fugitives from British justice are thought to be hiding out in Spain. Do you recognize anyone?

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
Bison found decapitated on Valencia nature reserve
Forgotten Voices: What Brits in Spain think about Brexit
One dead and 14 injured in blast at Spanish resort
Game of Thrones want extras 'with muscles' to film in Spain
Thousands march in Madrid to push for bullfighting ban
jobs available