Spain take positives from draw in Iceland

September 9, 2007

MADRID, Sept 9 (Reuters) - Spain drew positives from an otherwise miserable night in Iceland after securing a late equaliser to draw 1-1 in their Euro 2008 Group F qualifier on Saturday.

Luis Aragones's side played 71 minutes of the match in Reykjavik with ten men after losing midfielder Xabi Alonso to a red card, and fell behind to Emil Hallfredsson's header just before the break.

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta came on for Fernando Torres during the second half and rescued a point four minutes from time.

'It was always going to be a tough game and it was made worse with the red card for Xabi,' Iniesta told Spanish media.

'We were brave and went looking for the draw, taking risks in defence. In the end my goal and Northern Ireland's defeat in Latvia (1-0) have allowed us to keep our options open.'

Spain stay third in the group but are now level on 16 points with second placed Northern Ireland. Leaders Sweden, who drew 0-0 at home with Denmark, are three points clear at the top.

Aragones was frustrated by his team's inability to open up a technically inferior side and believed their poor start set the pattern for the game.

'The first half was bad and we found it difficult to get into the game. We tried to change things, which was hard because we were losing, and at least we got this point,' he said.

'We are better off now than we were before the game but worse than I expected because it was a match we should have taken three points from.'

Spain play Latvia in Oviedo on Wednesday.