Friday February 28 2014
Del Bosque: Italy a great test

Vicente del Bosque believes Italy will be Spain’s final great test before the World Cup, as he explains Fernando Llorente’s omission.

The veteran Coach has named his squad today to face the Azzurri in an international friendly next Wednesday at the Vicente Calderon.

“They are one of the greatest teams in the world,” explained Del Bosque to reporters today.

“They are based around the Juventus team and we have faced some very strong clashes, such as the first meeting at Euro 2012, and the semi-final of the Confederations Cup, that second one included the agony of extra-time, when they were as strong as us.

“And then there was the final of Euro 2012, which is probably our best game of recent years.

“Yes, this is probably the last great test before the World Cup, but the big test will be with all the Spanish in competition up until May 25 when we have to draw our squad.”

Del Bosque was asked on his squad selection, which has notably seen Diego Costa handed a first call-up and Fernando Llorente miss out.

 “That he is not here is a unfortunate. He is a guy that we have much appreciation for, as with many others, but there is great competition.

“The important thing is that he has moved on from what he experienced at Athletic, he is playing, is well regarded and is happy.

“Diego Costa is a unique case because he has never been here and for him having been born in Brazil. But he is a player who has come here on the merits of his club form and we have considered that he can help. So we have called him up, nothing more.

“I want to correct you as there are more than just a couple of important players left out. But this list is just for Italy.

“There is time, over three months before the World Cup, and a lot can happen to ratify those that are here or to consider others. We are not determining anything.

“Only two recognised strikers selected here? We are trying to select the best, but we have to have balanced, not all are midfielders.

“Isco, Illarramendi, Bruno…they are having fantastic seasons and are all left out. We cannot bring everyone, we have to also pick defenders and attackers.”

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