Spain drops Torres for World Cup qualifier
MADRID (AP) — Spain coach Vicente del Bosque dropped Chelsea striker Fernando Torres on Friday from his squad for an upcoming World Cup qualifier against Finland.
Torres has never been a set player for the national team under Del Bosque despite his goals at major tournaments. But the former Real Madrid coach did rely on Torres to help Spain reach the final of the Confederations Cup.
“We shouldn’t lament or blow out of proportion the fact that certain names that are not included on the list,” Del Bosque said. “We should be happy for those that are coming and who can help us get three points against Finland and increase the gap over France.”
Spain visits Finland on Sept. 6. The Finns surprised world champion Spain by holding it to a 1-1 draw in March.
Spain leads its group with 11 points, one more than France. The winner of each group qualifies for the World Cup in Brazil, while the runner-up faces a playoff to reach the tournament.
Four days after facing Finland, Spain will play a friendly against Chile in Switzerland.
Spain’s attack will be shared by David Villa, Roberto Soldado and Alvaro Negredo.
Del Bosque also left off Juan Mata, while Barcelona defender Gerard Pique was absent from the list of 23 players because he is suspended for the next match.
Del Bosque maintained Spain’s midfield core composed of Barcelona trio Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets.
“The image of our team is untouchable,” Del Bosque said. “We are not changing our ideas, our style.”
With first-choice midfielder Xabi Alonso still injured, Del Bosque called up Mario Suarez and Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion. He brought in Real Sociedad center back Inigo Martinez to replace Pique.
Prudent as ever, Del Bosque hinted that Iker Casillas would remain his starting goalkeeper without guaranteeing it or commenting on his continued benching at Real Madrid. His other goalkeepers are Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina.
“I have an idea of what we are going to do, but we have to check the physical and mental fitness of each one. In the training sessions we will see how they are,” Del Bosque said. “I don’t know if my words will be misinterpreted, but the truth is that we can’t treat everyone the same. On our selection, I consider those that have played many matches as special.”
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Napoli)
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Ignacio Monreal (Arsenal), Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad), Raul Albiol (Napoli)
Midfielders: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Francisco “Isco” Alarcon (Real Madrid), Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Mario Suarez (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Jesus Navas (Manchester City), Roberto Soldado (Tottenham), David Silva (Manchester City), Alvaro Negredo (Manchester City)