Spain, Netherlands announce final World Cup squads
Spain’s coach, Vicente del Bosque, has included Diego Costa in his final 23-man squad for the Fifa World Cup despite the Brazil-born forward’s recent injury woes.
The Atletico Madrid striker has been suffering with a series of muscle problems and limped out of last Saturday’s Champions League final against Real Madrid early in the first half.
Spain have one more warm-up game, against El Salvador in Washington DC on June 7, before the tournament in Brazil when Del Bosque can test Costa’s fitness.
If he does not recover sufficiently, Spain can replace him in the squad up to 24 hours before their opening Group B match against Netherlands on June 13, as long as they can prove his injury is serious enough to prevent his participation.
As well as Costa, Del Bosque included fellow forwards Fernando Torres of Chelsea, who netted a penalty in Friday’s 2-0 friendly win against Bolivia in Seville, and David Villa, Spain’s record scorer.
There was no place for winger Jesus Navas, who missed the final part of the Premier League season with an ankle injury, or his Manchester City team-mate Alvaro Negredo.
Real Madrid fullback Dani Carvajal was left out, with Del Bosque preferring the more experienced Juanfran of Real’s city rivals Atletico.
Chile and Australia make up Group B and Spain’s first game is against the Netherlands on June 13, a repeat of the 2010 final that Spain won 1-0 after extra time.
Del Bosque announced his selection for the tournament in Brazil on the Spanish soccer federation’s website on Saturday.
Dutch coach Louis van Gaal cut six players from his preliminary squad on Saturday as the Netherlands named their final 23-man roster for the World Cup, just hours before a warm-up international against Ghana in Rotterdam.
There was only one surprise as 20-year-old centre back Terence Kongolo kept his place in the squad despite being taken off at half-time on his international against Ecuador last week, while Patrick van Aanholt fell out of contention even though he was expected to be chosen as a back-up left back.
Van Gaal dropped PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet and four players from the Dutch under-21 side who had not been at last week’s training camp in Portugal, but were preparing for a European Championship qualifier against Scotland.
A hat-trick for Quincy Promes in that game on Wednesday led Dutch media to speculate he might be picked, but he was left out along with team-mates Jean-Paul Boetius, Karim Rekik and Tonny Vilhenna.
Experienced midfielder Rafael van der Vaart was ruled out of contention on Wednesday after suffering a calf injury in Portugal.
The final selection for Brazil includes four players who have been to the past two World Cups in Germany and South Africa: Dirk Kuyt, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie.
Nigel de Jong, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Michel Vorm also went to the 2010 tournament, where the Dutch finished runners-up to Spain.
The Netherlands kick off their campaign against Group B rivals Spain in Salvador on June 13 with matches against Australia and Chile to follow. – Reuters
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli) and David De Gea (Manchester United).
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid) and Jordi Alba (Barcelona).
Midfielders: Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid) and Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Pedro (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Manchester United) and David Villa (Atletico Madrid).
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax Amsterdam), Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City)
Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax Amsterdam), Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Terence Kongolo, Bruno Martins Indi (all Feyenoord Rotterdam), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Joel Veltman (Ajax Amsterdam)
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord Rotterdam), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea City), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (Norwich City), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)
Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).