Villa back in Spain squad for WCup qualifier
Barcelona striker David Villa will return to Spain’s squad for a
World Cup qualifier after missing the European Championship because
Villa is among 23 players named for the defending champion’s
first Group I qualifier at Georgia on Sept. 11, plus a friendly
match against Saudi Arabia in Pontevedra next Friday.
Villa’s last appearance for the European champions was nearly 10
months ago in Costa Rica before he fractured his right leg in
December, forcing him to miss the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland
”Normally Villa shouldn’t have come as he hasn’t really played
much but we think it will give him an extra lift,” coach Vicente
del Bosque was quoted as saying by Spanish media. ”All of the
information we have suggests he’s in good shape, he’s our country’s
top scorer and whether he plays or not we think it was opportune
that he come.”
The 30-year-old Villa enters in place of Athletic Bilbao striker
Fernando Llorente, who has been sidelined by his club since the
start of the season because of contract squabbles. Javi Martinez,
who transferred to Bayern Munich from Athletic, was also left out
for the same reason.
”I spoke with (Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes) and he was worried
about the irregular preseason he had,” Del Bosque said. ”It’s a
bad signal that players from Athletic haven’t got a presence but
Javi, until a few days ago, and Llorente have been going through an
Del Bosque said he left Juan Mata out of the squad after the
Chelsea playmaker competed at both the European Championship and
Olympics, as did Martinez.
Andres Iniesta, winner of UEFA’s Best Player in Europe award,
leads a relatively unchanged squad from the one at Euro 2012, with
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres set to make his 100th international
Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso are among five Real
Madrid players in the team, while there are seven from Barcelona.
Xavi Hernandez returns after skipping August’s 2-1 friendly win at
Valencia striker Roberto Soldado makes the team after missing
the cut for Euro 2012, as do Malaga back Ignacio Monreal and Real
Betis midfielder Benat Etxebarria.
France, Belarus and Finland are also in Spain’s qualifying group
for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina
(Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).
Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid),
Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Ignacio Monreal (Malaga), Gerard
Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Juanfran Torres
Midfielders: Benat Etxebarria (Real Betis), Xabi Alonso (Real
Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc
Fabregas (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez
Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester
City), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Roberto Soldado (Valencia), Fernando
Torres (Chelsea), David Villa (Barcelona).