An Alvaro Morata strike was not enough for victory as Spain began their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign with a 1-1 draw against Greece in Granada on Thursday
Morata’s stylish volley put Spain ahead in the first half of a Group B clash they dominated with 79.4 per cent of the possession before the break.
But Greece levelled when Anastasios Bakasetas converted from the penalty spot four minutes before the hour mark after Inigo Martínez fouled Giorgos Masouras inside the area.
And although Luis Enrique’s side enjoyed the bulk of the chances in the remainder of the game, they were unable to find a winner in an underwhelming start to the campaign.
6 – Since 2004, only David Silva (8), David Villa (8) and Fernando Torres (7) have scored more goals in the World Cup Qualifiers for the Spanish National Team than Álvaro Morata (6). Scorer. pic.twitter.com/0N769P4wPp
— OptaJose (@OptaJose) March 25, 2021
After a sluggish start, La Roja sparked into life when Dani Olmo rattled the crossbar with a long-range curling effort and, moments later, they were ahead.
Koke showed his guile to cleverly dink the ball over the Greek defence to Morata, who controlled on his chest before crisply striking a fine volley beyond Odisseas Vlachodimos.
Morata went close again early in the second half when his shot hit the side-netting, but Greece soon equalised.
Martinez caught Masouras after a sliding clearance and Bakasetas smashed the resulting spot-kick high down the middle of the goal.
Spain rallied and Morata got on the end of a Ferran Torres cross but was unable to make his header count, nodding straight into the ground, before Jose Gaya teased a low dangerous cross into the box which Mikel Oyarzabal could not convert.
The hosts continued to pile on the pressure late on but were unable to find a way past the resolute visiting defence, their joy evident at the final whistle.