FIFA World Cup: New faces among 30-man Spanish squad

United’s De Gea replaces Valdes as third-choice goalkeeper


Afp May 13, 2014
David de Gea will be making his first World Cup appearance as he replaces the injured Victor Valdes in Spain

MADRID:

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque on Tuesday named the uncapped David de Gea, Dani Carvajal and Ander Iturraspe in his provisional list of 30 players for the World Cup in Brazil next month.

Manchester United's De Gea replaces the injured Victor Valdes as the third-choice goalkeeper, whilst Carvajal and Iturraspe are rewarded for their excellent seasons with Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao respectively by offering cover in defence and midfield.

Nationalised Brazilian striker Diego Costa is included among the forwards after scoring 36 goals this season which have propelled Atletico to the brink of a Champions League and La Liga double.

Costa is one of four Atletico players included along with right-back Juanfran, midfielder Koke and Spain's all-time leading goalscorer at international level David Villa.

Chelsea's Fernando Torres is also included despite another difficult season at club level as are Juventus' Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo of Manchester City with only one likely to make the final cut.

Barcelona remain the most represented club with seven players from the Catalan club selected, including Andres Iniesta who scored the winner in the World Cup final back in 2010.

Drogba seeks to go out on a high

Ivory Coast icon Didier Drogba hopes to exit the international football stage in a blaze of glory at the 2014 World Cup.

That would mean the 'Elephants' claiming at least a top-two finish in a Group C with no clear favourite and reaching the knockout stage for the first time.

But fixtures against Colombia, Japan and Greece present 36-year-old Drogba with an excellent opportunity to retire on a high.

The Ivorians have been branded Africa Cup of Nations 'chokers', having failed to justify being title favourites at five consecutive tournaments.

However, they proved stubborn World Cup opponents, holding Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal 0-0 in 2010 and going down by one-goal margins to Argentina and the Dutch.

"Competing at the previous two tournaments was very difficult," admitted Drogba to Ivorian reporters.

"We have a realistic chance to do better in Brazil and get past the first round.”

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