- (Photo: Reuters/Miro Kuzmanovic)
World and European champion Spain will travel to Minsk to take on a Belarus side looking for a qualifying berth for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Spain enters the match as overwhelming favorites given the team's total dominance in international football the past four years. Spain won the 2010 World Cup and both the 2008 and 2012 European title- the first team ever to win three consecutive international titles.
But they have not looked as dominant in recent matches and were barely able to get by Portugal in their last qualifying match. The game ended 0-0 after full time and was only decided when Spain won during the penalty shoot-out.
Spain will once again lean on midfielder Andres Iniesta, who was named player of the tournament at this year's European Championship and won the 2012 Best Player in Europe Award.
Alongside Spanish midfielder Xavi, these two act as the motor that drives the Spanish side and the depth of talent and creativity will once again be on display on Friday. They will look for both Iniesta and Xavi to create offensive chances and control the pace of the game.
Belarus is a mid-tier team but has been successful in previous international campaigns. Belarus won the LG cup in 2002, beating Russia and Ukraine. In 2004 and 2008 they won the Malta International Football Tournament.
They will need to come away with points as Belarus has only managed to win one of their last five qualifying matches, losing two and drawing two. As a result, Belarus currently sits at bottom of their qualification group and still has to face France.
The two teams have never met previously in a competitive match, but both will look to remain focused given the stakes.
Kick-off for the match is at 2:00 p.m. EDT and can be seen on ESPN or online here.