Connect to share and comment

Del Bosque mulls lineup changes for Spain's key qualifying match vs. France


Las Rozas, Spain, Mar 24 (EFE).- The Spanish national soccer coach, Vicente del Bosque, intends to make several changes in the starting lineup for next Tuesday's decisive World Cup qualifying match against France at Saint-Denis.

Two of the players Del Bosque tapped for the matches against Finland - which resulted in a 1-1 draw - and France are out. In the faceoff in Gijon, Jordi Alba was injured and David Silva is serving a sanction for receiving a yellow card.

On the left wing, the favorite is Nacho Monreal and Del Bosque will probably put in Sergio Ramos or Cesar Azpilicueta on the right.

To replace Silva, it will be Andres Iniesta who will shift positions after playing in the center against Finland to replace Xavi Hernandez. He and Xabi Alonso will take over the center field duties, aided by Sergio Busquets.

For the three attackers, the coach has more options, with Andres Iniesta and Pedro Rodriguez in the running to start. Del Bosque is not thinking of changing the whole system, but he might rely on David Villa on offense.

However, Del Bosque might try a new tactic during Spain's last practice session on Monday prior to the matchup, given that Spain has missed securing four points in World Cup qualifying matches so far, sparking criticism the team may have lost the oomph that gave them three consecutive major tournament victories.

At stake in Tuesday's match is the leadership of the group and a direct pass to the World Cup in Brazil.

The Spanish team's second draw - against Finland - in Group I leaves it with eight points, two behind France.

Failure to get a win in Paris on Tuesday could mean Spain will not directly qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and will have to face another group phase runner-up in a two-legged playoff, but it could still get to the World Cup by means of a playoff win.