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Football: Del Bosque rings changes for dethroned Spain


Spain's coach Vicente del Bosque arrives prior to a press conference at the Sport City grounds in Las Rozas, near Madrid. Photo - AFP

Madrid: Vicente del Bosque on Friday rang the changes for Spain, unveiling a new-look 23-man squad for next month's friendly against France and Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia.

Del Bosque, who previously led Spain to glory at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and at Euro 2012, has kept his job despite the champions' disappointing World Cup campaign.

Spain were dumped in the first round and since then stars such as Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso have called time on their international careers.

Del Bosque's first squad since Brazil includes just eight of the 23-man World Cup contingent.

There are those who have been overlooked such as veterans Fernando Torres, 30, David Villa, 32, and Pepe Reina, 31, who Del Bosque has however assured the door remains open.

Others such as Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez and Barcelona's Gerard Pique are out injured.

"We made the list taking into account this poor performance (in Brazil)," del Bosque told a press conference.

"There was of course a generation that brought us much success and in some cases it was necessary to renew," he said.

"But I don't think it has left its mark and that we should change the way we act in the future," he added, suggesting that "La Roja" plan to stay true to their style of play.

In fact, the backbone of the team remains the players who led Spain to a Euro-World Cup-Euro triple between 2008 and 2012 — with Iker Casillas, 33, remaining as captain despite his shortcomings in Brazil.

"It's a team for now with a view to two years down the line," explained del Bosque.

To bring in new blood, del Bosque has mixed young players already known to the national side such as Marc Bartra, 23, Dani Carvajal, 22, Isco, 22, and Ander Iturraspe, 25, and older players who have never been given their chance.

Such a case is Espanyol goalkeeper Kiko Casilla, 27, who impressed last year at club level but has been overlooked in favour of Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Raul Garcia, 28, has also been given the nod. "We believe in him, he's a different style of player," said Del Bosque.

After next Thursday's friendly against France, Spain begin the long road to the Euro 2016 final by hosting Macedonia in Valencia on September 8 in their Group C qualifier.

Spain's 23-man squad
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), David De Gea (Manchester United/ENG), Kiko Casilla (Espanyol)
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal (both Real Madrid), Marc Bartra, Jordi Alba (both FC Barcelona), Mikel San Jose (Athletic), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/ENG), Raul Albiol (Napoli/ITA), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta (both FC Barcelon), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea/ENG), David Silva (Manchester City/ENG), Koke Resurreccion, Raul Garcia (both Atletico Madrid), Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal/ENG), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), Isco (Real Madrid)
Strikers: Pedro Rodriguez (FC Barcelona), Diego Costa (Chelsea), Paco Alcacer (Valencia) AFP


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