Football

Confederations Cup 2013: Predicted Spain XI

Will Spain win the Confederations Cup? (©GettyImages)
Will Spain win the Confederations Cup? (©GettyImages).

With the Confederations Cup starting in just over two weeks, a difficult step has been completed in picking a 26-man squad for the upcoming tournament by Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque.

Now he must decide his favoured starting XI for the tournament.

The world and European champions will face Uruguay in their first match for Group B which also contains underdogs Nigeria and surprise-package Tahiti.

There will be tough decisions to make all around the pitch, but playing for a country like Spain comes with the sacrifice of being left on the substitutes' bench for the team.

Here is the predicted XI for Spain:

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas

Despite failing to gain a starting spot for Real Madrid in five months, Del Bosque believes he's fine and in good form. There is no doubt the veteran will perform at his best for the country he's enjoyed plenty of success at in his time as the number one for the team.

Remaining as the most capped player for the national team he captains, Casillas is no doubt worthy of starting ahead of Pepe Reina and Victor Valdes.

Right-back: Alvaro Arbeloa

Despite the promising performances of the other right-back in the squad - Cesar Azpilicueta at Chelsea - Arbeloa's experience will serve vital in the team's campaign. Playing over 30 matches this past season for Real Madrid, Arbeloa rightfully deserves this spot in the back four.

Centre-back: Gerard Pique

When you think of the Spanish defence, Gerard Pique always enters your mind which emphasizes the Barcelona man's vitality for the Spanish outfit's recent success.

He previously used to being joined by Carles Puyol in the middle of the back four, but won't have the opportunity of doing so in this campaign. Reaching over 50 caps two months ago, the 26-year-old will once again be their main man at the back.

Centre-back: Sergio Ramos

Playing at right-back during his first two successful international campaigns, the 27-year-old has become accustomed to the central defence role. After detesting an unsuccessful season along with many other Spanish national team members for Real Madrid, Ramos will fight hard to make the year a successful one.

Recently earning his 100th and 101st caps for the team, Ramos is a certainty to start.

Left-back: Jordi Alba

After celebrating a flourishing professional tournament debut for his country in 2012, Jordi Alba has looked to become the long-term option at left-back for the European champions.

Following his switch to Barcelona last year and notable season for the La Liga winners, the 24-year-old is very likely to be picked ahead of Nacho Monreal.

Defensive-midfielder: Sergio Busquets

Remaining as Barcelona's consistent defensive midfielder, Busquets may continue to be picked ahead of Bayern Munich star Javi Martinez for this role. The two 24-year-olds may just be forced to compete in order to gain a spot in the side if room for both cannot be found. Busquets has been an important figure since the 2010 World Cup, where he impressed many.

Centre-midfielder: Xavi

The experienced playmaker, despite being a 33-year-old, is always a certainty for the side he's contributed plenty for to win three major trophies in as many tournaments.

The Barcelona midfielder will continue to give many defenses trouble until he retires with his abnormal vision and ability to find space. As this could prove vital to be crowned champions in a month's time.

Centre-midfielder: Xabi Alonso

Another player to win the World Cup and two European championships for Spain, Xabi Alonso continues to dominate the midfield for Real Madrid and more importantly in this case, Spain.

The former Liverpool man enjoys the familiar partnership with Xavi for their country and helps to create a midfield force that proves too strong for their opponents. His defensive and attacking work for the team should be important once again in the upcoming tournament.

Right-wing: Juan Mata

Coming off an amazing season for Chelsea, it wouldn't be too surprising to see the 25-year-old receive a starting spot ahead of the likes of David Silva and Pedro on the right side.

Although the former Valencia midfielder hasn't been given many opportunities in the past for his country. His creativity and vision however, may just edge other contenders for a starting spot.

Centre-forward/'False 9': Cesc Fabregas

A question on many Spanish fans' minds would be whether Vicente Del Bosque will use a natural striker to play up front or a player, like the former Arsenal captain will indeed be used in a "false 9" role as previously done.

Despite calling up Roberto Soldado, David Villa and Fernando Torres (who had been omitted from the squad in recent matches), Fabregas may be chosen ahead of all three of these natural forwards.

Left-wing: Andres Iniesta

There is never question about if Iniesta will play, it's usually more about where. With the ability to play anywhere in front of the defence, the 29-year-old could play in the middle of the park or in many cases for his country, on the left wing.

Nonetheless, it is always a guarantee that he will be one of many influential players for the Group B favourites.

 

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