Spain v Czech Republic: preview

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Spain host the Czech Republic on Friday night, with the World Cup winners looking to cement their place at the top of the Euro 2012 qualification Group I.

Vicente del Bosque's side have won three-out-of-three thus far, but the Czech's are likely to pose the toughest test thus far in Granada.

The Spanish side have been unimpressive in recent friendlies, but the current holders can move six points clear in the group should they get past a side captained by Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky.

"The objective for the team is to return to the good line of play from the old days," Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos has said in the build-up to the match.

"We need to go into Friday's game with the right mentality because if any one of us is switched off it could really complicate things," the manager added, emphasising the importance of the clash.

Cesc Fabregas is not in the squad, with the Gunners' skipper recovering from his injury in north London. Carlos Puyol and and Pedro Rodriguez are also absentees, but Xavi will earn his 100th cap for the country should he get the nod in midfield as expected.

"When we have had to win, when there were points at stake, we have not failed," said the Barcelona star.

Del Bosque has a selection dilemma up-front, with Fernando Llorente challenging for a starting spot. Either David Villa or Chelsea star Fernando Torres could miss out.


The later two have been out-of-form in-front of goal at club level, but with proven track records internationally are still likely to start ahead of the Atletic Bilbao forward.

"Lately I haven't had much luck, but the positive thing is that every day I am getting a lot of chances to score," said Villa on his recent form.

Petr Cech, now a teammate of Torres, knows only too well how the former Liverpool striker can hit form at any time, but hopes to get one over on his colleague should they come face-to-face tomorrow night.

"He (has) beat me in every game we played in as opponents. I hope it will be different on Friday."

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Petr Cech
Fernando Torres
Tomas Rosicky

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