Spain unveil final 23 man squad ahead of World Cup

Mon, May 21 2018

Sergio Ramos in action at Euro 2016 against Italy. Credit: Al Robinson

Spanish boss Julen Lopetegui played his final hand by revealing all his aces in the 23 man squad he hopes can achieve repeat of 2010 and bring Spain to World Cup glory.

There are some surprise omissions from the party bound for Russia which have raised a few eyebrows such as the decision not to include Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata who has had a mixed first season in the English Premier League scoring just 11 goals. Morata’s team mates Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas have also failed to make the final cut.

Lopetegui has included four Premier League based players in the form of Chelsea’s versatile full-back Cesar Azpilicueta, Manchester United’s player of the season David De Gea, Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal, and Manchester City playmaker David Silva.

Spain will be able to call upon plenty of experience at the back with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Daniel Carvajal, and Barcelona pair Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba all included, with Lopetegui no doubt hoping that they will have a calming influence on young defenders Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho.

Elsewhere, veteran midfielder Andres Iniesta has been included after playing his final game for Barcelona yesterday.

Lopetegui has decided to opt for a mix of youth and experience in attack by selecting Real Madrid rising stars Marcos Asensio and Lucas Vazquez as well as creative midfielder Isco, combative striker Diego Costa and Valencia winger Rodrigo who was an integral part of the team that secured a Champions League spot for next season.

Lopetegui felt his selection is justified telling www.skysports.com, “We’ve taken the players we feel are the best and feel we have the ingredients to challenge for the title and are just anxious for things to start now.”

Spain have been in impressive form recently drawing 1-1 away to Germany in a friendly in Dusseldorf and trouncing Argentina 6-1 in another friendly a few days later at the Wanda Metropolitano in March.

Spain will play two more warm-up games against Switzerland and Tunisia in early June before opening their World Cup campaign in Group B against European Champions Portugal on 15th June at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi.

 

Spain squad in full

Goalkeepers: David De Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (SSC Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao)

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Nacho (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Saul (Atletico Madrid), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City)

Forwards: Isco (Real Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Rodrigo (Valencia), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)