New Spain faces have chance to impress – Lopetegui

Spain head coach Julen Lopetegui called on the new faces in his injury-hit squad to seize their opportunity in the World Cup qualifier with Macedonia on Saturday.

Diego Costa was withdrawn from the squad through injury on Thursday, joining fellow absentees Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Javi Martinez.

Replacement Iago Aspas could make his international debut, while uncapped Sevilla defender Sergio Escudero and the returning Juan Mata, Aritz Aduriz, Cesar Azpilicueta, Sergio Asenjo and Marc Barta are also options for Lopetegui.

“We have had different injuries but we have players for whom it is a great opportunity to be here,” Lopetegui told a pre-match media conference.

“It had seemed that Diego Costa was going to recover but in the end he cannot be with us.

“I’m not going to reveal my line-up the day before. I want the players to know first.”

Spain sit top of Group G, while visitors Macedonia are without a point from their opening three games.

Despite the seeming gulf in class between the two nations, the Spain boss said his side would not underestimate their opponents.

Lopetegui continued: “We anticipate a difficult match typical of qualifying for a World Cup. We hope to have a good match.

“In our plans there is only Macedonia. The World Cup is far away, we are now fighting to be in it.

“We will try to be the first in the group. That is our will but we know it will not be easy.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *