Spain's ugliness a problem for Scotland

It was the kind of game Harry Redknapp would have loved had he been a national team manager and widely successful at the job to boot. “I woz daaahn to the bare bones,” he would have tooted. “Eight of the lads wot were in the squad wot won the World Cup wasn’t abaaaht. But we dug deep, stuck the big lad up front with that kid that looks like an 'amster aaaht wide and they done the business.”

That big lad was Fernando Llorente, who built on his crucial cameo against Portugal in South Africa to score a brace in Friday’s 3-1 win against Lithuania in Salamanca. What’s more, it was a brace consisting of what the Athletic Bilbao striker does best - getting on the end of a couple of crosses with his bonce.

It would certainly have given any watching Scotland fans something to ponder if they had been hoping to be able to just boot the Spanish midfield about and hang on for a goalless draw. All three of the goals from La Furia came through headers from crosses - with two assists from Sergio Ramos - with the third being a lovely looped effort from Diddy David Silva.

The only concern niggling away at the sporting press is David Villa missing chances - including one shot at the post from about one yard - and being wedged on 43, one goal behind Raúl’s international record. One TV station even ran a poll asking viewers to guess if he would reach that milestone against Scotland with the general consensus being a fairly disinterested ‘maybe'.

But with the second Euro 2012 qualifier now over, Spain’s football focus has now turned its attention to the country’s third clash and the challenge of Scotland at Hampden Park.

TV Reporters have already been dispatched to Glasgow with the sole mission of finding and filming rotund, ‘boisterous’, unintelligible Scotsmen wearing kilts and clutching bagpipes to reassure those back home that their stereotypical views of the people of Braveheart-land were indeed accurate.

By the looks of it, there was no shortage of Central-Casting types to be found in Glasgow, with Monday’s Marca even joining the joke with a cartoon portraying a big-bellied, kilt-wearing, red-nosed ginger man being marked with the different meat cuts (lomo, solomillo) by Vicente Del Bosque - a picture that would normally be hanging in a butcher’s shop.

The papers are forecasting the normal ‘tough battle’ in Glasgow and predicting a similar line-up in the clash as to the Lithuania game with the now flu-free Xabi Alonso perhaps returning in place of Santi Cazorla.

Whilst the somewhat snooty Spanish stereotype of Scotland and its football will continue to focus on alcohol, rain and general unsophistication, the home side will have to change their opinions on their visitors if they are to snatch anything from the game.

If Craig Levein’s players are expecting the patient, possession football of the World Cup from the Spanish side in Hampden Park, then they could be waiting a long time. Spain’s approach to the clash could well be more ‘Wham, bam thank you mam,’ than another patient display of the 'beautiful game' if Friday night’s football was any indication.

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