Fernando Torres makes the cut with Spain as Germany slip up
Monday 28 May 2012
Despite his up and down form for Chelsea this season, striker Fernando Torres was yesterday named in defending champions Spain's squad for this summer's European Championships.
Valencia striker Roberto Soldado was left out of the 23-man squad selected by Vicente del Bosque despite getting a hat-trick for his country against Venezuela in March, with Seville's Alvaro Negredo selected instead.
Many of the names were expected. Defender Carles Puyol and striker David Villa have already been ruled out of the tournament due to injury, while Atletico Madrid forward Adrian Lopez was overlooked despite scoring on his debut in the 2-0 victory over Serbia on Saturday. The Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea also failed to make the cut despite being included in a provisional squad which had been training in Austria.
Villa had ruled himself out after failing to recover from a broken leg he suffered in December, and Del Bosque understandably highlighted his position as one which would be the most difficult to fill. "Villa is irreplaceable with his characteristics and effectiveness. Nobody has done better than him,"he said.
The Spain coach did not waste many words on the players who had missed out, but did give them hope for the future. He said: "There is no special case. It's the same for everyone, Soldado, Adrian and the rest. They may feel upset but they must be good sportsmen.
"In September, we will make more call-ups so they have to be ready for that. In football, you need to bring in new blood, but not make changes for the sake of it."
In Basle, Switzerland stunned Germany 5-3 in an enthralling friendly on Saturday, with Eren Derdiyok grabbing a hat-trick against a makeshift German defence.
The visitors, missing more than half their usual starting line-up with eight Bayern Munich players yet to join their squad, looked a long way from being ready to challenge for their first major trophy since winning the European Championship in 1996.
Poor defensive organisation, a lack of their usual attacking spark and a sloppy passing game caused Germany to slump to their biggest defeat to Switzerland since their first meeting, in 1908, which ended with the same result.
The Germany coach, Joachim Löw, who will announce his final squad this week, said: "We made far too many mistakes. I did not expect this result though I knew it could be dangerous because of the many training sessions we have had until now. I knew that we could be lacking this freshness. The team had not played with such a line-up before. Now we have two weeks to work on this and I have absolutely no concerns that the co-ordination within the team will start working."
Germany, who play Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark in the group stages of the tournament, fell behind after 21 minutes with new Hoffenheim signing Derdiyok taking full advantage of a gaping hole in the visitors' defence to slot in Tranquillo Barnetta's cross.
Derdiyok struck again two minutes later, heading in another pinpoint Barnetta cross as central defenders Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker, making his comeback from an injury that has kept the Arsenal player out since February, struggled.
Hummels pulled a goal back just before the break but Derdiyok completed his hat-trick soon after the interval before André Schürrle made it 3-2. In a frantic spell, Stephan Lichtsteiner and Admir Mehmedi scored for Switzerland either side of Germany's third goal of the night from Marco Reus.
Portugal, meanwhile, faced a barrage of whistles from their fans after an insipid 0-0 home draw against Macedonia left question marks over the team's chances. Coach Paulo Bento understood the fans' reaction. "I can't criticise fans who paid their ticket and came to watch a better match," Bento said.
Portugal, who reached the final of the 2004 tournament, will have to improve if they are to make progress from arguably the toughest group at Euro 2012. Macedonia, coached by former Liverpool striker John Toshack, were well organised but reliant on counter-attacks.
Spain Euro 2012 squad
Goalkeepers: I Casillas (R Madrid), P Reina (Liverpool), V Valdes (Barcelona)
Defenders: S Ramos, A Arbeloa, R Albiol (all Real Madrid), G Pique (Barça), J Alba (Valencia), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: S Busquets, Xavi, C Fabregas, A Iniesta (all Barça), J Martinez (Ath-letic Bilbao), X Alonso (R Madrid), J Mata (Chelsea), S Cazorla (Malaga)
Forwards: D Silva (Man City), F Llorente (A Bil-bao), F Torres (Chelsea), J Navas, A Negredo (both Seville), Pedro (Barça)
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