Spain held to 1-1 draw by Finland in WC qualifier
GIJON, Spain (AP) — Spain conceded a late goal Friday to draw 1-1 at home with Finland, conceding top spot to France in their World Cup qualifying group and jeopardizing its chance of automatically advancing to the 2014 tournament in Brazil.
Sergio Ramos marked his 100th appearance for Spain by scoring from a header in the 49th minute after Finland had bunkered down in its area throughout the first half.
But Spain paid for not converting its overwhelming possession into a second goal when Teemu Pukki volleyed into the net from a cross after a 79th-minute counterattack in what was Finland's first shot on goal.
Spain's second straight draw left it with eight points in Group I, while Finland has two. France took sole possession of first place on 10 points by beating Georgia 3-1 also on Friday. The group winner automatically qualifies for World Cup, while the runner-up is likely to face a playoff.
Spain visits France on Tuesday in a match that could go a long way toward determining the group winner.
"We are disappointed," said Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, who had little to celebrate on his record-setting 69th game with the national team. "It seems impossible that after dominating the game we lost our concentration. We have four games ahead of us and we have to keep fighting. There are still a lot of points in play."
Del Bosque broke Ladislao Kubala's record of most games at the head of the Spanish national team. The former Real Madrid coach has a record of 57 wins, six draws and six losses with Spain.
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