Javi Martinez back in Spain squad for World Cup qualifiers

Syndicated from IANS | Published on Fri, Oct 5 2012 20:42 IST | 12 Views | Add comment
Madrid, Oct 5

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has named Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez in his squad for the reigning champions' two World Cup qualifying matches against Belarus and France.

Martinez, who joined Bayern after leaving Athletic Club Bilbao this summer, comes into the squad to replace the injured Gerard Pique, who is still working to recover from a muscle injury that will sideline him for this Sunday's 'Clasico' between Barcelona and Real Madrid, reports Xinhua.

Martinez was left out of the squad for Spain's previous matches, a friendly at home to Saudi Arabia and a trip to play in Georgia, as he had not played any football at the start of the season.

There is no place in the squad, however, for his former team-mate, Fernando Llorente as Roberto Soldado is preferred to the Athletic Club Bilbao forward. Neither is there a place in the squad for Chelsea' s Juan Mata.

Del Bosque explained Mata's absence by saying, he simply could not fit him in the squad as there were so many quality players for him to choose from.

Spain play Belarus in Minsk next Friday, before entertaining France in what could be the decisive game of their World Cup qualifying campaign, in the Vicente Calderon Stadium Oct 16.

Full squad:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, Victor Valdes

Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol, Jordi Alba, Javi Martinez, Nacho Monreal, Juanfran Torres.

Midfielders: Xavi Hernandez, Serio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Xabi Alonso, Benat Extebarria, David Silva, Santi Cazorla, Cesc Fabriagas.

Strikers: Pedro Rodriguez, Fernando Torres, David Villa, Jesus Navas, Roberto Soldado.

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