Sport Soccer

Thursday 22 February 2018

Fabregas and Soldado expected to start for Spain

Cesc Fabregas and Roberto Soldado could recover from injury to play against Italy in today's Confederations Cup semi-final, coach Vicente Del Bosque has said.

The Spanish boss said the pair would be "important casualties" if they were ruled out. "I don't think we will change our system against Italy, but we will wait and see how Soldado is, and how Fabregas is doing before we have to make any decision," Del Bosque explained.

"If they don't make it, we have alternatives. We would miss them for sure, but I don't want to over-dramatise it, and we have not yet made the decision."

Both trained in the Estadio Castelao yesterday with no obvious discomfort. Fabregas came off in the 54th minute of Spain's 3-0 win over Nigeria in Fortaleza on Sunday, while Soldado limped out six minutes later with the Spanish FA confirming on Tuesday that both had muscular injuries which had been scanned.

Spain's unbeaten competitive run is even longer and stretches back 28 matches to the first game of the World Cup finals in South Africa in June 2010 when they surprisingly lost to Switzerland.

Del Bosque said there was no magic formula in establishing such a streak, saying: "There is no single reason. We all know football, we need good organisation, team spirit but a really competitive spirit too, that is essential." The 62-year-old would not be drawn on his final team selection for the game against Italy, their first meeting since Spain beat them 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012 a year ago.

Italy v Spain,

Live, RTE 2, 8.0

Irish Independent

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