Spain vs. Georgia, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Preview and TV schedule

Jamie McDonald

Barring an unlikely collapse, Spain should qualify for the World Cup ahead of second placed France.

Just one point is required for the reigning World Cup champions to book their flight to Brazil and defend their title next summer. Vicente Del Bosque's team currently sit three points ahead of France, thanks to a record of five wins and two draws from their seven qualifiers. March's 1-0 victory over Les Bleus in Paris was arguably the turning point in Group I.

Still, La Roja can't afford any slip ups. France aren't expected to meet much resistance from Finland, with the Scandinavians out of the running in third place. Georgia are guaranteed to finish fourth due to Belarus having played all of their games. The Eastern Europeans have picked up just one win and two draws during their qualifying run.

Friday's 2-1 victory over Belarus was remarkably Spain's first home victory of the campaign. The champions have dazzled on the road with four victories, but struggled on home soil. With strike duo Fernando Torres and David Villaout injured, it took an individual effort from Xavi to open the scoring against a stubborn Belarus side. Alvaro Negredo came on as a second half substitute and also found the net in that game. As a reward, the Manchester City striker is expected to start ahead of Swansea City's Michu, who struggled to make an impact in his debut for La Roja.

Victor Valdes and Iker Casillas will battle it out for a place between the sticks once again after Valdes got the nod on Friday. Real Sociedad's Inigo Martinez could come into the defence if Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos fail to recover from minor muscle injuries picked up during training. Meanwhile, Andres Iniesta is expected to be restored to the heart of the midfield after starting the Belarus game from the bench.

Georgia coach Temuri Ketsbaia has labelled the current Spain lineup as the "best team in history." It's widely expected that he'll set his stall out much like Belarus did, packing the defence and getting men behind the ball in order to frustrate the hosts. Since a 3-1 defeat in France back in March and a 4-0 friendly defeat against Republic of Ireland, Georgia have tightened up defensively in the last month, frustrating the French with a stalemate in the return fixture, before going down to a 1-0 defeat against Finland.

Goals have been sparse for the Georgians, with just three registered in seven qualifiers. It took a solitary late winner from Roberto Soldado to settle the reverse fixture in Tbilisi last September. Spain will be hoping to find the right combination to unlock the Georgian defence much earlier on Tuesday night to finish their qualifying campaign in style.

Match Date/Time: Tuesday, 9 p.m. local, 3 p.m. ET

Venue: Estadio Carlos Belmonte, Albacete, Spain

TV: ESPN3 (U.S), BT Sport 2 (UK)

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