Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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29.02. (Wed) 21:00 Spain - Venezuela

Euro 2012 Qualifiers: Spain-Scotland: David Silva



Arbeloa, Puyol, Ramos, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Alonso
Iniesta/Muniain, Llorente, Silva

Rosales, Tunez, Vizcarrondo, Quijada
Rincon, Flores
Gonzalez, Miku, Orozco
S Rondon

Athletic Bilbao starlet Iker Muniain could make his international debut for Spain when they face Venezuela in a friendly in Malaga on Wednesday.

Roberto Soldado is also in line to receive his first international cap since 2007, after an impressive campaign that has seen him tally 20 goals for Valencia in all competitions.

With Wednesday's friendly being the last opportunity for Spain coach Vicente del Bosque to see his players in international action before he names his squad for the Euros, the strike duo will be staking their claim for a seat on the flight to La Roja's summer base in Gdansk, Poland.

Meanwhile, Sevilla forward Alvaro Negredo has withdrawn from the squad for the Rosaleda clash after he suffered a muscle tear in Sunday's win at Valencia, while all-time leading scorer David Villa has been sidelined until April with a broken leg.

Fernando Torres, who has scored just once for his country in the last 18 months, is omitted from the squad, along with Barcelona's Pedro.

Venezuela coach Cesar Farias could be without the services of defender Fernando Amorebieta, who is nursing a muscle problem. Malaga star Salomon Rondon is likely to lead the South American side's attack in familiar surroundings.


  • Spain qualified for Euro 2012 by winning all eight of their fixtures, only the fourth time a nation has advanced to the finals of the European Championships with a 100 per cent record.
  • However, La Roja have failed to win on their last two outings - a 1-0 friendly defeat to England in November was followed by a 2-2 draw with Costa Rica.
  • Barcelona are the best-represented club in Spain's 24-man squad for Wednesday's friendly with eight players, followed by Athletic Bilbao and Real Madrid (four players each).
  • Venezuela, who are the only national team in Conmebol to never have qualified for a World Cup, are third in South America's 2014 World Cup qualifying table, level on points with Argentina after four rounds.
  • La Vinotinto enjoyed their best-ever finish at the Copa America in last year's edition, reaching the semi-finals before falling to Paraguay in a penalty shootout.
  • Venezuela lost 3-0 to a David Villa-inspired Spain the last time the two teams met in a friendly in June 2011.
With Villa injured and Torres out of form, one might be tempted to think Spain's attack is in trouble only months before their Euro 2012 Group C opener against Italy. But such is the depth of talent in the Spanish side these days that they may not even miss the strike pair - Fernando Llorente, Juan Mata, David Silva and Muniain are all in form and are more than capable replacements, and they should guide the hosts to a comfortable win on Wednesday.
Editor's Prediction
Spain 3-0 Venezuela