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Vicente del Bosque has warned that there will be no room for sentiment when it comes to picking his final 23-man squad for Spain’s upcoming World Cup defence.
La Roja, who are currently priced at 8.00 to win the competition, will head to Brazil on the back of a remarkable few years which has seen them become European champions in both 2008 and 2012, as well as win their first world title four years ago in South Africa.
However, like all successful teams, they have had to constantly evolve with a number of players moving on and Del Bosque left a number of high-profile names out of his squad for this week’s friendly with Italy, with Fernando Torres, David Villa and Juan Mata all being overlooked.
There are also question marks over how the ageing legs of the likes of Xavi and Xabi Alonso will cope with the unpredictable conditions in South America, while veteran Carles Puyol looks set to miss the competition due to his persistent injuries.
Spain are currently 1.72 to win a difficult-looking Group B which also includes the Netherlands, Chile and Australia and Del Bosque admits that although both he and his country owe plenty to their golden generation, he cannot allow his emotions to get the better of him when he names his final 23.
“The extraordinary generation of players that helped us become champions have a place in my heart,” he told Cadena Ser. “But I also have to keep in mind that I need to be flexible and give those who can bring something to the team a chance.
“I would be a poor national team coach if I didn’t act in that way.”