Premier League-based trio Diego Costa, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla were among a list of high-profile absentees for defending champions Spain when coach Vicente Del Bosque named his provisional 25-man squad for Euro 2016 on Tuesday.
Atletico Madrid striker Fernando Torres also failed to make the cut despite showing improved form towards the end of the season, as did Valencia forward Paco Alcacer, who is overlooked despite being top scorer in Spain’s qualifying campaign.
“We didn’t want to have an overload of players who were in an uncertain situation. We preferred not to bring them,” Del Bosque told a news conference yesterday.
Costa injured his hamstring against Liverpool in Chelsea’s penultimate game of the season. Also missing from the squad are Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto and Villarreal’s Mario Gaspar, who were involved in the March friendlies against Italy and Romania.
Uncapped pair Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez, who scored a breathtaking individual goal in the Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich, and Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez are called up for the first time.
They are joined at the age of 35 by Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz, who scored 36 goals this season, and was named in a squad for a major tournament for the first time.
Spain will play three more friendlies, against Bosnia, South Korea and Georgia, before beginning the defence of their title against the Czech Republic on June 13.
Del Bosque also named an 11-man reserve list—including Arsenal defender Hector Bellerin—who will join the squad on May 23 to compensate for the absence of the 17 players still involved in domestic and European competitions.
The team for that Group D opener will become clearer after the Georgia friendly, when the players involved in the Champions League final between the two Madrid clubs become available.
Del Bosque’s easiest selection decision is in defence, with a back four of Juanfran, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba practically assured, notwithstanding injuries.
But who will be in goal behind them remains less certain. Del Bosque has shown continued loyalty to captain Iker Casillas despite the veteran’s difficult season with Porto, although David de Gea is in far better form.
Andres Iniesta, Koke, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas are in pole position to start in midfield with David Silva further forward and Alvaro Morata the lone striker, despite having made just 16 league starts with Juventus.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto) David de Gea (Manchester United) Sergio Rico (Sevilla) Defenders Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) Gerard Pique (Barcelona) Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) Jordi Alba (Barcelona) Marc Bartra (Barcelona) Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) Mikel San Jose (Athletic Club) Juanfran (Atletico Madrid) Midfielders Bruno Soriano (Villarreal) Sergio Busquets (Barcelona) Koke (Atletico Madrid) Thiago (Bayern) Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) David Silva (Manchester City) Isco (Real Madrid) Pedro (Chelsea) Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea) Saul Niguez (Atlético Madrid) Forwards Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) Nolito (Celta Vigo) Alvaro Morata (Juventus) Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid)
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Mohammadi’s late strike rescues Arabi
Football is not without surprises, says Jovovic as Ahli face Sadd
Jalela and HM Jalfane do Qatar proud in France
Al Wakrah storm into semis of Amir Cup
Real boost Zidane with rousing Clasico victory
Ireland set up ‘Super Saturday’ decider as Six Nations returns
Japan’s Nakagami takes first MotoGP pole position in Spain
Record-seeking Hamilton grabs dramatic late pole
Dhoni vows changes after season of IPL ‘failures’