Spain coach Vicente del Bosque called up three uncapped players Thursday to bolster the World Cup champion’s depleted defense for an upcoming Euro 2012 qualifying match.
Spain plays Chile in an international friendly in Geneva on Sept. 2 before taking on Liechtenstein in a European Championship qualifying match at Logrono four days later.
Del Bosque is without injured Barcelona pair Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol, as well as Athletic Bilbao fullback Andoni Iraiola. Del Bosque has called on Atletico Madrid centerback Alvaro Dominguez, Sporting Gijon defender Alberto Botia and Barcelona ”B” Team player Martin Montoya to fill in.
Del Bosque preferred to give some of Spain’s Under-21 players – coming off a European Championship victory – experience than to turn to veterans.
”There are some new names in the list but that doesn’t mean we’re eliminating others like (Carlos) Marchena and (Joan) Capdevila from future squads,” Del Bosque said on Thursday. ”We’re using this opportunity to bring in young players so we get to know them better. We’re well covered.”
Spain leads tops Group I with five victories from five games for a six-point lead over the Czech Republic.
The rest of Spain’s regulars were in the 24-man squad, with nine Barcelona players named, including Cesc Fabregas who missed a 2-1 friendly defeat to Italy earlier this month with injury.
Del Bosque wasn’t concerned about relations between the 14 players from Real Madrid and Barcelona in the squad following an ill-tempered Spanish Supercup series that ended with both benches emptying on to the field to brawl.
”I’m left with the positive of that match, of the image left by the quality of our football,” Del Bosque said. ”The last time we gathered everything was positive and I don’t expect things to change now.”
Del Bosque accepted that Spain needed to recover from the defeat to Italy which saw the European champion lose its No. 1 spot in the FIFA rankings for the first time since victory in the World Cup final against the Netherlands in South Africa last year. The Dutch took over top spot.
”It’s something that you have to accept and we have to pick ourselves up and get back to winning ways,” the former Real Madrid coach said. ”We’re not looking for any kind of excuses.”
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).
Forwards: Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla), Juanma Mata (Valencia), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), David Silva (Manchester City), David Villa (Barcelona), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona).