Spain drops Torres for France, Finland WCup games

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque left out Fernando Torres on

Friday from his squad for two World Cup qualifiers, including the

critical match against France.

Del Bosque said Torres’s inconsistent form since moving from

Liverpool to Chelsea in 2011 has created doubts that he is the

right player to lead the attack.

Torres made the squad for all three of Spain’s previous World

Cup qualifiers but had only played in one, coming on late against

France in October before the French equalized for a draw.

”Torres has been a regular until recently, but we don’t see him

as being at 100 percent and that is why we didn’t bring him,” Del

Bosque said. ”Especially for strikers, inconsistency worries us,

and Fernando’s inconsistency, like in other forwards, is what

provoked a sense of insecurity in us.”

Spain will likely be led up front by all-time leading scorer

David Villa, with Sevilla forward Alvaro Negredo as a back-up. Del

Bosque could also opt to use midfielder Cesc Fabregas as a ”false

nine,” like he did at last year’s European Championship.

”I believe the two center forwards we have called up are enough

for us because we have alternatives up front,” Del Bosque


Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea took the place of

injured captain Iker Casillas, but he will probably be third in

line to defend Spain’s goal behind Victor Valdes and Pepe


Del Bosque said he had dropped veteran defender Carles Puyol for

fitness concerns, the while Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez

made the 24-man squad despite nursing a leg injury.

Del Bosque said Xavi may not be fit to play Finland in Gijon on

March 22, but hopes the midfielder can play against France in Paris

four days later.

Despite the France game looming, Del Bosque is focused on the

match against Finland.

”We train with the goal of winning, but in sports anything can

happen,” the former Real Madrid coach said. ”We don’t

underestimate anyone. Every team is tough to beat.”

Spain and France both have seven points at the top of Group I.

Georgia has four points, Belarus three, and Finland one.

The winner of the group qualifies directly to the 2014 World Cup

in Brazil. The top eight runners-up from the nine groups advance to

a playoff, with the four winners making the final phase.

France earned a 1-1 draw with Spain in October, ending the

country’s 24-match winning run in qualifiers.


Goalkeepers: Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool),

David de Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Raul Albiol (Real

Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea),

Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Jordi Alba


Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi Hernandez

(Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona),

Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Javi Garcia

(Manchester City), Francisco ”Isco” Alarcon (Malaga)

Forwards: David Villa (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester

City), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Alvaro

Negredo (Sevilla), Jesus Navas (Sevilla)