Del Bosque leaves out Puyol and Torres.

15 March 2013 11:16

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque on Friday left Carles Puyol and Fernando Torres out of his 24-man squad for the World Cup qualifying matches against Finland and France later this month.

Captain Iker Casillas also misses out as he continues to recover from a broken bone in his hand, and Del Bosque admitted that although their experience may be missed, he feels he has better options available to him at the moment.

"It is a strange situation after the past number of years to be without Iker, Fernando and Puyol.

"With regards to Puyol, I spoke with him and he has some physical problems at the moment so we though it best to leave him out.

"We didn't see Fernando at 100% and because of this we didn't call him up. The inconsistency of our strikers is our only uncertainty at the moment.

"Even without Iker though we still have three fantastic goalkeepers and there will be time to decide which one will start these games."

However, Del Bosque has called upon Xavi despite his problems with injury in recent weeks and he acknowledged that the Barcelona midfielder may miss the Finland game on March 22 to ensure he is fit to face France on March 26.

"He had a problem at the end of the Milan game. He phoned me and said that he was uncomfortable, but that he wanted to come, if not for the first game, then for the second. Once again he has been an example."

Amongst the newer faces in the squad are Isco and Chelsea full-back Cesar Azpilicueta and Del Bosque had special praise for the Malaga playmaker after leading his side to the quarter-finals of the Champions League against Porto on Wednesday.

"Isco has always been close to being called-up. Everyone who is coming, except De Gea, has already made their debut. There is great competition within the squad and therefore there is huge merit just to get in, but we believe a lot in Isco."

Further forward though is where there really appears to be places up for grabs.

Cesc Fabregas played the majority of last June's European Championships in a 'false nine' role up front, however, although Del Bosque insisted the Barca midfielder's limited role at club level recently didn't concern him, he hinted that he could return to using a more traditional centre forward.

"Cesc is a player that is among the regulars at Barcelona even if he did not play against Milan.

"I believe in the centre forwards we have brought with us will be enough for us because we have alternatives in attack like Pedro, (David) Silva and (Juan) Mata. No one can doubt that we are an attacking team."

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), David De Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta, Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Javi Garcia, David Silva (Manchester City), Isco (Malaga)

Forwards: David Villa, Pedro Rodriquez (Barcelona), Juan Mata, Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas (Sevilla)

Source: AFP