World Cup qualifier: Spain's Andres Iniesta is excited by playing at Albacete
Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta is excited by the prospect of returning home to Albacete for Tuesday's visit of Georgia.
Last Updated: 14/10/13 8:54pm
Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta is excited by the prospect of returning home to Albacete for Tuesday's visit of Georgia, but knows he cannot afford to get distracted with World Cup qualification at stake.
Iniesta was born in the region and was on the books of local club Albacete before being spotted by Barcelona and joining the Catalan giants as a 12-year-old, and he is looking forward to running out at the Carlos Belmonte Stadium.
However, with Spain still requiring a point against Georgia to be sure of securing their place in next year's finals, Iniesta is well aware that Tuesday's match is no time for sentiment or any special tributes on his behalf.
Asked if he might wear the captain's armband for the match, Iniesta said at Monday's press conference: "I'm not going to be the captain. It's not a friendly match, nor a homage.
"It's a special game for me because I'm from here, but we are playing for World Cup qualification and the focus must be 100 per cent on playing well, having a good game, and getting the victory."
He added of his return to Albacete: "When I found out the game was going to be here I felt an immense joy to be able to be here today.
"From now until tomorrow's match finishes the emotions will be very strong. I hope the fans really enjoy watching the national team because they aren't always here and that we can secure our qualification. It will be nice."
A draw for Vicente del Bosque's side will see them book their place in Brazil, while they could still qualify on goal difference even if they lose the game by a single goal, as long as France do not beat Finland by more than one.
Spain were made to work for the three points against Belarus on Friday, failing to score for an hour until Xavi put them ahead.
Although Alvaro Negredo's goal with 11 minutes remaining appeared to have sealed the victory, a late effort from Sergei Kornilenko made for a nervous three minutes of stoppage time for the world and European champions.
Belarus are bottom of the group but their conservative tactics frustrated Spain, and defender Nacho Monreal is expecting Georgia to play in a similar way.
The Arsenal defender told reporters: "At first glance it should be similar to the Belarus match.
"They showed in Georgia that they are a very compact team, they defended with 11 men behind the ball and they made things very difficult for us."
However, he promised Spain would not stray from their possession based game, no matter how hard the visitors made it for them.
"It will be the same on Tuesday, they will sit back and defend all game and the only solution is to keep being ourselves, this philosophy has given us so much success and we need to stick with it," he said.
"Of course there will be variations and in some games we will attack more than in others, but we have to maintain the overall idea."
Georgia coach Temuri Ketsbaia, meanwhile, has not given up on his dream of upsetting the world champions.
"They're the best team in history," the former Newcastle midfielder said. "They've won everything there is to win in the last six years and they've got the best team.
"A draw would be a great result for the team but there are no words to describe how it would feel to beat the champions of the world at home.
"I can't pick out a single player. All the Spanish players have so much quality and even the ones that aren't selected are very good."