Macedonia vs Spain - Thiago warns against complacency as Spain will meet Macedonia



Posted Sunday, June 11, 2017 by PA

Spain playmaker Thiago has warned his side not to let Macedonia's lowly position in Group G lull them into a false sense of security heading into Sunday's World Cup qualifier in Skopje.

Macedonia have lost four of their five qualifiers - including a 4-0 defeat in Spain - and their only points have come from a victory over group minnows Liechtenstein.

That has left Igor Angelovski's men 10 points adrift of leaders Spain and clear underdogs for Sunday's encounter, but Thiago knows it would be foolish for La Roja to underestimate their opponents.

"We are professionals and it is a very important match for us. Italy won there, in the end. It will be a complicated game for sure," he told Marca.

Italy were 15 minutes away from suffering defeat in Skopje back in October only for Ciro Immobile to net twice - including a stoppage-time winner - to sneak a 3-2 victory for the Azzurri.

Partly thanks to that result, Italy are level-pegging with Spain on 13 points at the top of the group and Julen Lopetegui's men only hold first place because of a superior goal difference.

Italy could make a heavy dent into that when they host Liechtenstein - a side Spain beat 8-0 - on Sunday, meaning the Spanish can ill afford to slip up in Macedonia.

Spain have a number of players walking a disciplinary tightrope in Skopje where a booking would see them suspended for September's crunch showdown with Italy in Madrid.

Thiago is one of those players but the Bayern Munich man said: "If that is a worry then we would have forced (a card) earlier in order to avoid that. Our focus is only on getting three enormously important points."

Thiago was struggling with a knock but trained this week before the squad flew to Macedonia.

Macedonia are only realistically playing for pride in their remaining qualifiers, but they will still be hoping to overhaul Albania - three points ahead in fourth place - as well as bruising a few egos along the way.

They are in good form, having beaten Liechtenstein 3-0 in their last qualifier before downing Belarus by the same scoreline in a friendly and then drawing 0-0 with Turkey on Monday.

And forward Aleksandar Trajkovski is hoping for another good result on Sunday.

The 24-year-old, who plays his club football for Italian side Palermo, said on the Macedonia Football Federation website: "We played a great match against Turkey, but that is behind us.

"We are ready, whoever the coach decides to start.

"Spain are the favourites, they are certainly one of the world's best teams, but we have to try some things in the game that will benefit us.

"In today's football it is very hard to predict things. We will try to be at the highest level, but whether it will be enough for a favourable result we will see on Sunday evening."

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