If Spain lose to France on Tuesday night, the defending European and World Champions will be five points behind Les Bleus in the race to reach the next World Cup.
And La Furia Roja may be forced to endure the ignominious Russian roulette of a playoff to reach Brazil in 2014.
Nobody expected Vicente Del Bosque’s team of expert technicians to drop points against Finland last weekend, and they will be up against it when they meet Didier Deschamps’ ascendant France.
Two points behind the 1998 World Champions, Spain are nearing an emergency situation.
But their Arsenal forward Santi Cazorla insists that things are not as bad as they seem, and Del Bosque’s misfiring boys can’t be written off yet.
"Yes we made mistakes, we have dropped four points, but that happens in football,'' Cazorla told AS after the Finland debacle.
“Those dropped points must be added in France to regain first place.
"It makes no sense today to doubt this team.
"The team is hungry, wants to keep winning titles and you cannot talk about the end of a cycle.''
While he is adamant that Spain are not in decline, Cazorla accepts that France will present a major challenge to him and his superstar team-mates.
Les Bleus have only dropped qualifying points in drawing with Spain early in the campaign, and Cazorla knows only a vast improvement will see Spain through against them.
"The problem is we have less margin for error, but we always go out to win. We are aware that we have to make a great game against a team that is in a great moment,'' he said.
"In the last game we lacked things, we have to have more options.''