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World Cup qualifiers start: Who has made the Spanish team?
01 September 2021 @ 22:52

THE first FIFA World Cup qualifier kicks off for Spain on Thursday this week against Sweden, with a team that does not include Sergio Ramos or anyone from Real Madrid – mirroring the national side sent to the UEFA Euros.

FC Barcelona's Pedro González López, better known as 'Pedri', is not on the team by mutual agreement – the midfielder is said to be 'tired' after a long run without a break, and is in the middle of a well-earned holiday at present.

Goalkeepers who will be travelling to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, if Spain gets through, are the same as those who played in the Euros this year, delayed 12 months due to the pandemic – Unai Simón (Athletic Club de Bilbao), David de Gea (Manchester United) and Robert Sánchez (Brighton & Hove Albion).

Euros defenders Jordi Alba (Barça), José Luis Gayá (Valencia CF), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea FC) and Marcos Llorente (Atlético de Madrid) have been kept on for the World Cup team, but Leeds United's Diego Lorente and Villarreal CF's Olympic competitor Pau Torres have fallen off the list, and Manchester City's Èric García and Aymeric Laporte will play centre-forward.

The latter two will join newcomers Raúl Albiol (Villarreal) and Athletic Club de Bilbao centre-back Íñigo Martínez.

Midfielders who represented Spain in the Euros and who are now on the World Cup team are Jorge Resurrección Merodio – known exclusively on- and off-pitch as Koke (Atlético de Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barça) and Rodri Hernández (Manchester City), but along with Pedri's taking a rest break, Thiago Alcântara (Liverpool FC) has not been included.

New faces have also made the cut on the midfielder list: Valencia CF's Carlos Soler, Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad) and Brais Méndez (Celta de Vigo).

As for strikers, Villarreal's Gerard Moreno, Manchester City's Ferrán Torres, Juventus' Álvaro Morata, Paris Saint-Germain's Pablo Sarabia, and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Adama Traoré, who all played in the UEFA Euro, will stay on the team for the World Cup, but RB Leipzig's Dani Olmo and Real Sociedad's Mikel Oyarzábal will not.

New names on the strikers' list are West Ham FC's Pablo Fornals, and Portuguese team Sporting Clube de Braga's Abel Ruiz.

Ahead of the UEFA Euro, Real Madrid fans were not happy with (pictured) team manager Luis Enrique's line-up as none of their side's players had been included – and the World Cup team follows suit.



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