Calls for Carvajal and Iturraspe in Spain preliminary squad
World Cup holders Spain, now 13/2 shots with Coral to retain their crown at the Brazil finals, have named a 30-man preliminary squad, which includes Chelsea striker Fernando Torres and first-time call-ups for Real Madrid right back Daniel Carvajal and Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Iturraspe.
Torres, 30, is one of eight Premier League players named by La Roja boss Vicente del Bosque. Manchester United goalie David de Gea is set to go to his first finals as backup to Iker Casillas, alongside Pepe Reina, because injury ruled Barcelona stopper Victor Valdes out.
Chelsea full back Cesar Azpilicueta, Arsenal attacking midfielder Santi Cazorla, Manchester City counterpart David Silva, United’s Juan Mata, and Etihad winger Jesus Navas and striker Alvaro Negredo complete the contingent from the English top-flight.
Regulars Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid) and Gerard Pique (Barcelona) are included in defence, and are joined by a third natural centre back in Napoli’s Raul Albiol, fresh from a Coppa Italia triumph. Javi Martinez, of Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, will cover that position as well as his preferred defensive midfield berth.
Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla) and Jordi Alba (Barcelona) complete the full back options. Martinez and Iturraspe are joined by fellow anchors Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso, who also ply their trade for El Clasico clubs.
Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta, mainstays of both Barcelona and Spain’s golden eras, are also among the midfield contingent. There is a nod to the new generation from Del Bosque, though, as Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich) and Koke (Atletico Madrid) make it alongside former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas.
Pedro Rodriguez, yet another Barcelona star, represents a wide option for Spain to go with Navas and the advanced midfielders. In attack, Basque target man Fernando Llorente (Juventus) has been called up, joining record La Roja scorer David Villa, Torres, Negredo and Brazilian-born Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid) on the roster.
This tournament has come too early for the likes of Real pair Asier Illarramendi and Isco, while teammate Alvaro Arbeloa is injured. Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal and Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado miss out after losing their places to English youngsters Kieran Gibbs and Harry Kane respectively.
Full Spain preliminary squad:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli, on loan from Liverpool), David de Gea (Man Utd)
Defenders: Sergio Ramos and Daniel Carvajal (both Real Madrid), Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio Busquets (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), David Silva (Man City), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara (both Bayern Munich), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao)
Forwards: Fernando Torres (Chelsea), David Villa and Diego Costa (both Atletico Madird), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo (both Man City), Juan Mata (Man Utd), Fernando Llorente (Juventus)
Del Bsoque is odds-on at 8/11 to steer his La Roja side to top spot in Group B, which also contains the Netherlands, Chile and Australia.