Spain opens the first window of the year with views of Qatar

Greeting in Las Rozas between goalkeepers Robert Sánchez and David Raya. /

With the news of Raya and Guillamón among the 23 chosen, Luis Enrique's team is already preparing rehearsals against Albania and Iceland in Las Rozas

Ignatius Tyko

"Good guys, optimal morale." This phrase used to be pronounced by the legendary Ladislao Kubala, who led the Spanish team for eleven years, qualifying it for the World Cup in Argentina-78 and the European Championship in Italy-80, sums up well the current panorama of La Roja, which this Tuesday began its concentration in the Ciudad del Fútbol de Las Rozas to prepare for the upcoming friendlies against Albania and Iceland.

According to the official images shown by the Federation channels, the 23 chosen by Luis Enrique arrived relaxed and smiling. As the Asturian coach warned them as soon as he offered the call, they are well aware that they are not simple preparation matches. "There are no friendlies," Marcos Alonso, Eric García and Marcos Llorente emphasized upon their arrival.

After beating Sweden in the November final at La Cartuja in November, Spain acquired the direct ticket for the World Cup in Qatar and now avoids the dreaded play-off and enjoys two games to finalize details. Before the Asian competition, Spain will still play in June and September the round-trip matches of the League of Nations against Portugal, the Czech Republic and Switzerland.

Although the rest granted to veteran Sergio Busquets stands out, the surprising call by goalkeeper David Raya (Brentford) instead of the controversial David de Gea and the promotion to the senior team of Valencian player Hugo Guilllamón to replace the injured Diego Llorente, it is a continuous list . As he already anticipated in his previous call, back in the fall, Luis Enrique has done many tests but assumes that it is time to close the fan thinking about the World Cup.

The joy of the Barça

A call with the presence of five Barcelona players, full after their recent display in the league classic at the Bernabéu, and only Dani Carvajal on behalf of Real Madrid. And a summons in which the strikers Raúl de Tomás, who will play in front of his fans, and Yéremy Pino, absolute internationals of new mint, are consolidated. Spain suffers the significant loss of the realistic Mikel Oyarzabal due to a torn anterior cruciate ligament that could leave him without enjoying the World Cup that will begin on November 21 in Doha. Two regulars in defense are also in the dry dock, such as Iñigo Martínez, José Luis Gayà and the aforementioned central defender from Leeds.

On Saturday, March 26, Spain will once again play a match in Catalonia 18 years after the last goal scored in Montjuic by Rubén Baraja in a friendly against Peru. Espanyol's stadium is expected to be packed to the brim despite the lack of interest from the Albanians. Three days later, La Roja will close this window in La Coruña against modest Iceland, which made history by eliminating England in the round of 16 of the last European Championship in France and also competed in the last World Cup in Russia. The last time the national team played in Riazor was to certify their presence in the World Cup in South Africa with a 5-0 win over Belgium.

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