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DEL BOSQUE WARY OF PRAISE

The Spanish national team manager Vicente del Bosque has said that the praise that the national team has been getting after winning three major titles in succession could have a negative impact. The Spanish national team has been praised in various quarters has one of the best teams in the world. They have managed to win the Euro 2008, FIFA World Cup 2010, and the Euro 2012. Never before has the team managed to win three major international titles like Spain. Further, they have been able to achieve this feat by playing a brilliant style of football. However, the extraordinary amount of praise could have a negative impact on the team leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup according to the manager Vicente del Bosque.

The 61-year-old has also become the first national team managed to have won the likes of the Champions League title and also the World Cup and European Championships. He is once again expected to lead the national team at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil barring any controversies. Even though some of the influential players within the team like Carlos Puyol and Xavi will not be at their prime at this World Cup, del Bosque believes that Spain can win the 2014 World Cup.

“Too much praise is dangerous. It is not normal because of the 16 teams that take part in every European Championship, 15 will fail. You can also take positives from defeat. I hope that the Spanish athletes can play a big role, despite the difficulties that exist on a daily basis in a more equal competition. We are in a particularly good spell for sports in our country in various fields, both as a team and as individuals,” said del Bosque ahead of the start of the London Olympics.

TORRES NAMED IN SQUAD

Fernando Torres has been named in Spain’s European Championships squad despite a mixed season. The Chelsea striker has been in inconsistent form this season but seems to have returned to something close to his best in the run in this season.

Torres had failed to impress in the early stages of his Chelsea career since his British record transfer from Liverpool last January. But a series of impressive individual performances in the latter half of this season coinciding with Chelsea’s revival under Roberto Di Matteo has been enough for Torres to secure his place in the Spanish squad.

Valencia’s striker Roberto Soldado has been left out of Spain’s squad despite having scored a hat trick for his country in March. He missed out to Alvaro Negredo. Aside from that the squad was widely as expected. Carles Puyol and David Villa are absent through injury and Adrian Lopez of Atletico misses out despite scoring on his international debut this week. Manchester United’s David De Gea has missed out despite being called up to the provisional squad.

Del Bosque had been keen to give David Villa every chance to prove his fitness and was eager to take the Barcelona striker to the Championships if remotely possible. Villa though ruled himself out, having not played since breaking his leg in December’s World Club Championships with Barcelona.

Del Bosque handed hope to those who missed out telling them to be ready for September and the start of World Cup qualification. “In September, we will make more call-ups so they have to be ready for that. In football, you need to bring in new blood, but not make changes for the sake of it”.

The Spanish go into the tournament as favourites and the standard of players who are missing out on the squad show the incredibly high standard of the reigning World and European Champions.

VILLA OUT OF EUROS

Barcelona striker David Villa has confirmed that he will not be taking part in the Euro 2012 after failing to recover from the tibia fracture he suffered back in December. Villa is recognised as one of the best strikers for Spain. In the past, he has formed a devastating partnership with Chelsea striker Fernando Torres. However, Fernando Torres is currently out of form, while the loss of David Villa will be even more crucial for Spain at the Euro 2012. Spain manager Vicente del Bosque was initially hoping to get Villa into the squad in the final moment, but the Barcelona striker has now confirmed his nonparticipation in the tournament due to injury.

This is the second major blow for Spain after they recently had Barcelona defender Carlos Puyol ruled out due to injury. However, due to the fact that Spain have a number of options when it comes to defence, they are likely to miss Carlos Puyol. It will be in the striker department that they will certainly feel the pinch of not having David Villa. Spain will be coming into the tournament as the defending champions, but their favourites tag has slightly been reduced following the injuries to key players.

“I tried right to the end but I wasn’t able to get to 100 per cent for the Euros. Today I called the coach to tell him. It was the most honest thing to do. Thanks to all of you for your support,” said David Villa on his Twitter account. “The RFEF and Spain’s coaching staff wish the player all the best in his recovery and hope he will return soon to the national team, and value the effort made by David to get back to full fitness,” read a statement on the official website of the Spanish Football Federation.

DEL BOSQUE SET FOR NEW DEAL

Spanish national team manager Vicente del Bosque is set to continue as the manager of the Euro 2008 and 2010 FIFA World Cup champions after the Euro 2012 as well. The former Real Madrid manager’s contract was coming to an end at the conclusion of the Euro 2012. However, it is thought that the Spanish football Federation has decided to extend his contract, although it is not known whether he has signed a deal leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. A two year extension is likely to see him up until the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

Vicente del Bosque has been credited with keeping on the good work Spain have been doing in the last few years. It would have been easy for Vicente del Bosque to change the style of play, but he has enabled to retain the same aura of strength within the team even after winning the European Championships and the World Cup. However, Spain have been drawn against Italy and Croatia in the group stages of the Euro 2012. Many doubters for Spain think that it will be difficult for a thing to perform well without the likes of Fernando Torres and David Villa.

David Villa is currently injured after fracturing his tibia playing for Barcelona in December. Even though he is expected to be close to fitness by the time the Euro 2012 tournament starts, it is highly unlikely that Vicente del Bosque will be depending upon Villa for scoring goals. The same applies for Chelsea striker Fernando Torres as well. Torres has been in a poor form for two years now, but he seems close to coming back to his best. Torres has scored seven goals in his last 11 appearances for Chelsea, and del Bosque said that he was extremely pleased with the performances of the Spaniard.

GUARDIOLA WILL USE SQUAD

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has revealed that he will be utilising more of a squad in the coming weeks in order to cope with the demands of playing in the European competition and the domestic league.

Barcelona have just made it into the semifinals of the Champions League after beating AC Milan 3-1 at the Camp Nou. It was a win that has set up a match against Chelsea in the semifinals, which will be a repeat of the match the two clubs played each other in the 2008-09 season. This match often marked the beginning of the success for Barcelona, as they have won 13 out of the 16 possible trophies since then.

Barcelona manager Guardiola has often resisted rotating the squad, but he is now going to be forced into rotating his squad ahead of the match with Real Zaragoza during the weekend. They will be looking to keep up with the leaders Real Madrid, who have also qualified for the semifinals of the Champions League.

With the El Clasico between the two clubs only a few weeks away, Barcelona will be looking to close the gap as soon as possible. Many expect Barcelona to win the El Clasico, which will take place at the Camp Nou.

“All I can ask is that they are not at their best on the day and we all go out and compete and let people see that the team gives everything it has. It is clear that coaches want to use their entire squad, but Barcelona are a team that have no problems rotating their team because of the resources they have,” Manolo Jimenez said in the press conference just ahead of the match. Real Madrid have a tough match against Valencia, and will not be playing until Monday.

SPAIN KEEP WINNING STREAK

Spain secured their 27th consecutive home victory in the match against Venezuela recently.

Roberto Soldado played a major part in helping Spain secured this important victory.

Even though this was a friendly, Spain did not take their chances lightly and fielded a strong line-up that include the likes of Roberto Soldado and Andreas Iniesta. It was Iniesta who opened the scoring early in the match after calmly slotting past the Venezuela goalkeeper.

Cesc Fabregas was the architect of this goal, while the former Arsenal midfielder was once again at the heart of things to set up David Silva for the second goal just before half-time. Even after securing a two-goal advantage at home against Venezuela, Spain were not content with the performance.

Hence, Spain manager Vicente del Bosque brought on Roberto Soldado at the start of the second half in order to increase the tempo. Roberto Soldado was in place of former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, who has been dropped due to poor form for Chelsea.

Fernando Torres has not scored a goal for Chelsea since October, and after repeated warnings, Vicente del Bosque has decided to drop the striker from the squad. Roberto Soldado proved his worth by scoring a hat-trick in the second half, thus making it even more difficult for Fernando Torres to come back into the squad.

In the end, Spain managed to win the match after scoring five goals. Roberto Soldado was making his return to international football after a huge five years, but he made no qualms about being left out of the squad for such a long period by scoring a hat-trick. Even though this hat-trick was against a poor Venezuela side, is now highly likely that Roberto Soldado will be part of the Euro 2012 squad instead of Fernando Torres.

VILLA INJURY MAY COST SPAIN

Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has said that the injury to David Villa is extremely unfortunate to both Barcelona and the Spanish national team.

David Villa fractured his tibia in the match against Al Sadd in the semifinals of the Club World Cup. Even though Barcelona won the match quite comfortably, Pep Guardiola has said that the injury to David Villa will certainly weaken the team quite badly. Still, he refused to worry too much about the injury and wanted to focus on the final of the Club World Cup with Brazilian club Santos.

The future of David Villa has come under intense speculation of late. It has been reported that both manager Guardiola and striker David Villa have fallen out of each other. It seems to be the exact repeat of the situation with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The Swedish striker complained that Guardiola was putting too much impetus on Lionel Messi without concentrating on the other members of the squad. In the end, Barcelona took a major hit by selling Zlatan Ibrahimovic for just around £ 20 million after having signed him for a total of around £ 60 million only a season ago. David Villa came to the Camp Nou in a deal worth around £ 35 million.

It is highly unlikely that the Catalan club will be able to recoup the money from the striker, who has just turned 30 years of age and has injured his tibia. “Villa is going back for an operation. Don’t ask me about a replacement for that particular player, we will have to play without him to become champions of the world. We will try to our best in the circumstances we find ourselves, we would like to be world champions,” Guardiola told reporters after the match with Al Sadd.

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