Spain will be hoping that tonight’s friendly against France is the start of a new era following their dismal 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign.
Vicente Del Bosque’s men put up a very weak defence of their world title and were the shock early exit of the tournament.
A 5-1 humiliation from the Netherlands put La Roja in jeopardy, before they fizzled out within the first week after Chile beat them 2-0.
They did restore some dignity with a 3-0 win over Australia, but their demise sent out a clear message that the former treble-winners were in major need of a change in direction.
The international retirements of Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso have paved way for a new generation, and Del Bosque has named five uncapped players in his first squad since the finals.
Espanyol keeper Kiko Casilla finds himself in the company of Iker Casillas and David de Gea, while Athletic Bilbao defender Mikel San Jose and Real Madrid full-back Daniel Carvajal could also be in line for their debuts at the Stade de France this evening.
Atletico Madrid midfielder Raul Garcia will be looking to earn his first cap, along with 21-year-old Valencia forward Paco Alcacer.
Barcelona pair Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta are two of the more established players to be missing out, as well as strikers David Villa and Fernando Torres while Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez is injured.
The core of the French squad is made up from the majority of the 23 that helped them reach the quarter-finals in Brazil, as Didier Deschamps looks for his side to really kick on after their impressive showing.
Four La Liga players should be involved for them at some point this evening, three of whom represented them at the World Cup.
Real duo Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane are in there along with new Atletico signing Antoine Griezmann, while Barca’s new centre-half Jeremy Mathieu comes back into the squad looking to build on his two caps.
The two sides should be fairly familiar with each other having gone head-to-head as recently as last year in qualification for Brazil, and they should provide an entertaining encounter in Paris.
Although it is a friendly, both managers will be looking for a good performance from their teams. The Spaniards need a response to start building again towards the future and hopefully a new era, while the French will be confident after their decent World Cup campaign that they can really kick on and make a real statement on the international stage once again.
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