Pique in the spotlight as Spain look to assure World Cup ticket

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, October 5, 2017
Adjust font size:

MADRID, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- Spain coach Julen Lopetegui will have to make changes in his side as Spain prepare for a game which will seal their ticket to the World Cup finals in Russia should they win.

Spain play Albania in Alicante on Friday night and with a three point lead over Italy, as well as a vastly superior goal difference, victory will be enough for the Spanish.

The run in to the game has been marked by the controversy over Barcelona defender Gerard Pique's views over the recent Catalan independence referendum and the insults he received while training in Madrid and although Pique explained his opinions in an eloquent press conference on Wednesday, he is still likely to be focus of attention (and probably insults) in Alicante.

Key players Dani Carvajal and Sergio Busquets will be missing for the game; Carvajal has a chest infection, while Busquets is suspended. Asier Illaramendi will probably step in to replace Busquets in central midfield, while young defender Alvaro Odriozola could make his debut on the right.

If Odriozola doesn't start then the experienced Cesar Azpilicueta will play at right back.

Alvaro Morata and Andres Iniesta will also miss the game through injury and Lopetegui will probably compensate for their absence by starting with Real Madrid's Marcos Asensio playing as a false number '9' and Pedro Rodriguez in a wide role to add pace.

Pedro has been in good form for Chelsea and Lopetegui is known to have confidence in him.

Spain won 2-0 in Albania earlier in the campaign but needed two second half goals to break down a dogged rival and it could be they who will have to be patient again on Friday, but the prize of a ticket to Russia should be worth the wait. Enditem

Follow China.org.cn on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from China.org.cnMobileRSSNewsletter