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Spain name Confederations Cup squad

27 May 2013 13:53

Spain boss Vicente del Bosque has named an initial 26-man squad for the Confederations Cup, with Fernando Torres included.

The 62-year-old coach will cut his squad down by three once he knows who has avoided injury in the final round of La Liga fixtures and is ready for the tournament in Brazil.

Captain Iker Casillas returns to the squad having not been involved for the World Cup qualifiers against France and Finland due to injury.

The experienced Real Madrid goalkeeper replaces Manchester United's David De Gea, who will be with the Under-21 team for the European Championships in Israel.

Del Bosque explained the reasoning for naming more players than he needs for the tournament was down to fitness levels after a long season.

"The criteria is choosing the players who will best fit to help us during the competition, that's it," he said. "It is based on sporting reasons, nothing else. It's impossible to bring everyone.

"It is almost impossible for the players to be completely fresh at the end of such a tough season. They're going to be tired.

"It has been a very intense Spanish season, but we believe that our players are physically superb and are capable of playing for this extra amount of time for the Confederations Cup."

Del Bosque has also recalled Chelsea striker Fernando Torres, who impressed at Stamford Bridge towards the end of the season under the leadership of Rafael Benitez .

The 29-year-old has found the net 23 times for his club in 2012-13 - including the opening goal in the UEFA Europa League final against Benfica - and has replaced Malaga playmaker Isco in the Spain squad.

Real Betis' Benat Extebarria has been rewarded for an impressive campaign with a call-up to the squad that also sees Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez return two days after picking up the UEFA Champions League trophy - a feat that impressed Del Bosque.

"When (Javi Martinez and Torres) weren't included it was because we didn't think they were playing that well," he continued. "They weren't having enough of an influence on the Bayern or Chelsea squads, but now things are completely different and they have both improved."

Spain's third-place finish in 2009 was their first appearance in the Confederations Cup, but Del Bosque insists that the current World and European Champions are keen to improve on that in Brazil.

"For us it is a very important competition the Confederations Cup," he added. "As it pits the champions from the various competitions against each other.

"There are four world champions, but as well as them there are also three other teams that deserve a lot of respect: Japan, the Olympic Champions Mexico and Nigeria who won the African Cup of Nations and Haiti, which is a little bit of an unknown entity for us.

"It is a tournament, a competition, a cup with a lot a quality competing and we, as the European and World champions, intend to give it the respect that it deserves."

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona) and Pepe Reina (Liverpool).

Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa and Raul Albiol (all Real Madrid), Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal) and Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea).

Midfielders: Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas (all Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Javi García and David Silva (both Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Jesus Navas (Sevilla) and Benat Extebarria (Real Betis) .

Forwards: Juan Mata and Fernando Torres (both Chelsea), David Villa and Pedro (both Barcelona), Roberto Soldado (Valencia).

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