Spain Prepare for Confederations Cup With 2 Friendlies On US Soil
Spain, the current World and European champions, are in the United States in prepare for the Confederations Cup that kicks off on June 15. But before they head to Brazil, a full-strength Spanish national squad will play Haiti tomorrow night in Miami. And then on Tuesday Spain will play Ireland in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland at Yankee Stadium in New York City.
Fernando Torres and Roberto Soldado have been recalled by Spain coach Vicente del Bosque, who has named the two strikers in a provisional Confederations Cup squad.
The 29-year-old Torres, who won the Europa League with Chelsea this season and has scored 22 goals in 64 appearances for the London club, is one of eight English-based players to have been selected by del Bosque, with the 26-strong squad due to be reduced to 23 before tournament begins in Brazil on June 15.
Valencia striker Soldado, 27, missed out on a place in Spain’s Euro 2012 squad, but he has hit 28 goals in 45 appearances for Los Che this season.
Real Madrid goalkeeper and Spain captain Iker Casillas, who missed much of the season after breaking a finger in January, also returns as does former Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez, a Champions League winner with Bayern Munich.
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea, talented Malaga midfielder Isco and Barcelona’s Thiago Alcantara were all unavailable after being called up for the Spanish Under-21 side for the European Championship in Israel this summer. Manchester City’s Javi Garcia and Benat Etxebarria of Real Betis are included, but there is no place for veteran Barcelona defender Carles Puyol or Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo.
“When Torres and Martinez didn’t come in before, it was because we didn’t think the moment was right. Now it is the opposite – they are both in good form,” said Del Bosque.
Spain will be looking to improve on their third place finish in the 2009 Confederations Cup in South Africa, where they were surprisingly beaten 2-0 by the United States in the semi-final. Their first game in this year’s competition is in Recife on June 16 against Uruguay, 2011 Copa America winners and 2010 World Cup semi-finalists. Tahiti and Nigeria make up their group in the eight-nation event that runs until June 30.
Spain squad for Confederations Cup tournament:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Reina (Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).
Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid).
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Benat Etxebarria (Real Betis), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Javi Garcia (Manchester City), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Juan Mata (Chelsea), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City) Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona).
Forwards: Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Roberto Soldado (Valencia), David Villa (Barcelona).
23 of the 26 players called by the Spanish coach will be travel to the United States for matches against Haiti on June 8 in Miami and then against Ireland on June 11 before traveling to Brazil.
Tickets are currently on sale and available through www.sunlifestadium.com and www.ticketmaster.com or by calling the stadium box office at (305) 943-8000. Tickets start at just $29 and a limited number of VIP Field seats will be made available on the sidelines to watch the match. For more information on the VIP Field Seating, teams, players and event, please visit www.sunlifestadium.com.
Also, Spain, the defending World Cup and European champions, will face Ireland on Tuesday, June 11 at 8:00pm at Yankee Stadium. Tickets are available at www.yankees.com/soccer and www.ticketmaster.com.