Madrid, Sep 3 IANS | 2 months ago

Spain are set to pitch a new-look football side against France in Thursday's friendly following the disappointment of crashing out of the group stage in the Brazil World Cup.

The World Cup disaster ended a glorious spell of three consecutive triumphs in major tournaments for the Spanish and in many ways is the end of an era, reports Xinhua.

The new look Spanish team is without household names such as Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso and David Villa, who have all retired from international football, as well as others such as Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, who have been dropped and Javi Martinez, who is injured.

Coach Vicente del Bosque named five uncapped players -- Mikel San Jose, Dani Carvajal, Paco Alcazar, Kiko Casilla and Raul Garica in his squad, while recalling Ander Iturraspe, who failed to make the final list for the World Cup finals.

Speaking in the El Pais newspaper, Del Bosque admitted that had things gone better for Spain, he would not have made so many changes, despite having been criticised after the World Cup for taking a squad that was old, tired and with players who were out of form.

"The list would not have changed much. People who are in football give a lot of value to traditions, so why would we be inconsiderate towards people who are still playing for sides such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich," said Del Bosque, who nevertheless, admitted the need for youth.

"Football requires new blood. After we won the European Championship in 2008, players such as Fernando Navarro, Andres Palop and Segio Garcia were left out and then players such as Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique began to come and play.

"The Spain squad always looks ahead, but I like to have a perspective when I look to the present. We are now in a phase of reactivating everything and the players who come now should realize that coming to play for Spain is something special, not a routine," added Del Bosque, who remains optimistic about the future.

"We still have players such as Iniesta, Cesc, Busquets, Ramos, Alba, Pique and now players who were European U-21 champions have joined us. We can neither be nostalgic nor slaves to pessimism, we need to have a balance," said Del Bosque.

"We have been in every major tournament since 1992 and that is a long time in the elite and something that motivates us."

(Posted on 03-09-2014)

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