The thing they have in common is the fact that they were both pre-qualifying favourites to win their groups comfortably and they could both easily finish in play-off spots, which will risk their chances of making Brazil 2014.
Both sides are two points behind the group leaders in their respective groups and both are a little fortunate that there is still a high ratio of games, which will allow them to turn things around.
England have not made too many mistakes so far during qualification and their record is superb; 20 goals scored across all matches and just two goals conceded, one of which came against Montenegro.
If England beat the group leaders this evening then they will go to the top of the group and they probably won’t give that position up for the rest of qualification. The lottery and unpredictability of the play-offs is not something they will want to experience.
Oddly Spain have struggled at home in Group I, which is remarkable considering the number of impressive results they have secured over the last few seasons.
They have drawn both of their home games to date scoring only two goals while conceding the same number. It maybe suggests that they are struggling to find new ways to break through teams, which are becoming more efficient in terms of park the bus tactics.
Spain trail France, which is not something they would have expected but nevertheless, it will be difficult for them to overhaul the French and cement first place in the group because France are not a bad team by any stretch of the imagination.
The Spanish seem to enjoy playing away from home where they are under a lot less pressure and their stats would support this; five goals scored and not a single goal conceded.
Both England and Spain are always going to be under huge pressure from their home fans and their home press because of the standards each has set over the last few years.
There’s no doubt that it would be much more surprising if Spain ended up in a play-off spot because of the fact they are back-to-back European Champions with a World Cup in the middle.
Where do you think England and Spain will finish?
image: © TiM BiG