Puyol left out of Spain squad against Colombia

BY foxsports • February 4, 2011

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque left defender Carles Puyol off the squad for the World Cup champion's friendly against Colombia on Wednesday.

Sevilla winger Jesus Navas will return for the first time since September after battling injuries for much of this season.

Puyol has recently been sidelined by a knee injury. Fellow World Cup champions Juanma Mata and Javi Martinez were left to play for Spain's Under-21 team.

There are no major changes to the 21-man squad, with Del Bosque sticking with regulars like Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, David Villa and new Chelsea striker Fernando Torres.

Spain is winless in three friendly games since winning its first World Cup in July, with two straight defeats by a combined 8-1 score.

Del Bosque called the match against the South Americans a good test after a 4-0 loss to Portugal in November - Spain's most lopsided loss since a 6-2 loss to Scotland in 1963.

"We need to be certain that what happened against Portugal doesn't repeat itself," Del Bosque said Friday. "Everyone should arrive with the mentality that they will be playing for 90 minutes."

Spain lost to Argentina 4-1 before the Portugal defeat. Spain, however, has won all three of its European Championship qualifying games to lead Group I. The defending European champions next qualifier is against the Czech Republic on March 25.

"Our objective will be to break the routine that comes with international matches," Del Bosque said. "It will help us be at our best in March."

Del Bosque said he expects Torres' move from Liverpool to Chelsea will be beneficial.

"I still haven't talked to him but it was a big surprise. But I think it will be a step forward for his career," said Del Bosque, who was recognized as a marquis by Spain's King Juan Carlos on Friday.

"It's an extra responsibility that obliges me to be better every day. But I'm sure people will continue calling me coach or Vicente."

The game against Colombia will be played at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium with gate receipts going to the Association of Spanish Football players.

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