Spain vs Chile: Vicente Del Bosque ponders most important team selection of his career

Chelsea players at the heart of manager's quandary

In an ultra-serious press conference, where Spain were intent on asserting their optimism ahead of the fixture with Chile, it was the one light-hearted moment.

Vicente Del Bosque was asked whether the fact Fernando Torres spoke to the media meant he has been told he is in the team.

“You’ll have to ask the press officer about why he was put up,” the Spanish manager responded. “She doesn’t know the line-up.”

It’s fair to say that line-up is probably the most focused-upon in the World Cup so far, not least for its potential consequences. A wrong decision could lead to a remarkable failure: the defending champions falling at the group stage.

The deeper problem for Spain, of course, is that they do not just have to win this game. They may have to win it well, especially given the troubling goal difference situation following the dismal defeat to the Netherlands.

So, while Del Bosque’s decision on Xavi may reshape Spain’s midfield, and the player who loses out to Javi Martinez may restructure the defence, it is whoever fills the forward’s role that perhaps carries the greatest weight. They need that player to finally offer an acceptable goal return. The position has become one of the most-discussed in international football, but also carries a lot of Premier League interest. Or, rather, a lot of interest from Chelsea.

 

Diego Costa only exacerbated that debate with a poor display against the Dutch in which he did not look fully fit, but it remains to be seen whether Del Bosque will so quickly drop him after going to such trouble to bring him in. There have been two suggestions, however, from the Spanish camp. One is that Costa will be replaced by the man he likely relegates at Stamford Bridge, Fernando Torres. The other is that both could be overlooked for their newest teammate, Cesc Fabregas.

Chelsea offer Spain a few options. They need a few goals. Only then can they properly smile again.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable