Spain reveals 23-man cast for World Cup title defense

Fitzgerald Cecilio – 4E Sports Reporter

Barcelona, Spain (4E Sports) – Coach Vicente del Bosque has revealed the 23 men who will defend the Spain’s World Cup title in Brazil.

Del Bosque has included Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa in the line-up despite struggling with an injury that exacerbated in the Champions League final.

The injury did not stop del Bosque from naming Costa along with Atletico teammate David Villa and Chelsea’s Fernando Torres, who helped Spain to success at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Torres had not been certain of his place after a disappointing season at club level but he scored in Friday’s 2-0 win over Bolivia and del Bosque said afterwards that he had “great confidence” in the 30-year-old.

Atletico right-back Juanfran also makes Del Bosque’s squad despite his fitness concerns, with Real Madrid’s Dani Carvajal missing out as a result. Sevilla left-back Alberto Moreno, who has been linked with a move to Liverpool, was another left out of the final 23, together with Juventus’ Fernando Llorente and Manchester City’s Alvaro Negredo.

Jesus Navas is another high-profile absentee as his recent injury troubles proved decisive. The coach had hinted that the winger would not be selected when he said after Friday’s game that, despite impressive performances in training, it would be “difficult” for Navas to make the squad following his recent lack of match action for Manchester City.

“My heart sinks,” Del Bosque added. “He’s a guy who’s spent two months without playing. He’s almost perfect, but it has been two months without playing. We prefer to take someone in a condition that we have no questions about.”

Manchester United’s Juan Mata, meanwhile, is included despite his indifferent form over the course of the season, while Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Iturraspe was dropped.

Spain begins the defense of its trophy against Netherlands, the 2010 finalists, on June 13 and also faces Chile and Australia in Group B.

Final 23-man Spain squad:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David de Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Koke Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal)

Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea).

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