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Spain Names Squad For World Cup

Spain have announced their 23-man squad for the 2018 World Cup with coach Julen Lopetegui choosing to omit Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata from his final selection

Premier League stars David De Gea, David Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Nacho Monreal are all included along with Barcelona’s outgoing midfielder Andres Iniesta.

Stalwarts Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets make the cut while Diego Costa continues his comeback by sealing a spot on the plane.

But there is no room for Morata after an underwhelming season for the 25-year-old at Stamford Bridge since joining from Real Madrid in the summer. Other notable absentees include Morata’s Chelsea team-mate Marcos Alonso, Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin and Atletico Madrid midfielder Vitolo.

Elsewhere Real Madrid defenders Dani Carjaval and Nacho join their club team-mates Marco Asensio, Isco and Lucas Vazquez in making Lopetegui’s 23-man squad.

In total the two-time Champions League holders have six Spanish players in the selection while their rivals and La Liga champions Barcelona have four.

Atletico duo Saul Niguez and Koke are selected and Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcantara is the only non-Spanish based player from outside the Premier League. Pepe Reina and Kepa Arrizabalaga are the goalkeepers deputising for De Gea.

Real Sociedad right back Alvaro Odriozola, who has been named ahead of Alonso and Bellerin, rounds off the 23-man selection for Spain.

Lopetegui, speaking at the squad announcement in Madrid, expressed his regret for excluding some of the players who helped him out in qualifying such as Morata.

Morata can feel aggrieved to have missed out after joint-top scoring for his country during the qualification campaign, netting five times along with Isco and David Silva.

‘This is the best and most beautiful competition in the world but at the same time the most difficult as you only have three initial games to prove oneself,’ Lopetegui said.

‘We’ve taken the players we feel are the best and feel that we have the ingredients to challenge for the title and are just anxious for things to start now’.

On the strikers, he added:

‘We feel that each one will bring his style and personality to the team and this is important for each game and each situation’

‘At a World Cup, it’s all about what you do on the pitch and FIFA rankings and the rest make little difference. We have three games and our future at the competition is dictated by these games’.

The coach also confirmed younger players would join up with the group on Tuesday to compensate for the Real Madrid stars involved in the Champions League final.

The 2010 winners Spain have been drawn into Group B featuring European champions Portugal, Iran and Morocco.

Spain are among the favourites to win this summer’s tournament in Russia along with Brazil and the current world champions Germany.

Goalkeepers: Kepa Arrizabalaga, David De Gea, Pepe Reina
Defenders: Dani Carjaval, Alvaro Odriozola, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Nacho, Nacho Monreal, Cesar Azpilicueta
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Saul Niguez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez
Forwards: Iago Aspas, Rodrigo Moreno, Diego Costa