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Friendlies

  • 7 September 2012
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio Municipal de Pasarón, Pontevedra
  • Referee: A. Salmanov
  • • Attendance: 11850
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Spain - Saudi Arabia Preview: Newly-crowned European champions prepare for World Cup qualifying with friendly

Spain - Saudi Arabia Preview: Newly-crowned European champions prepare for World Cup qualifying with friendly

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La Roja face Georgia on Monday as they prepare their defence of the crown but first comes a non-competitive match against Frank Rijkaard's men

  PROBABLE LINE-UPS
SPAIN

Casillas
Arbeloa, Ramos, Pique, Alba
Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Busquets
Pedro, Torres, Iniesta


SAUDI ARABIA


Abdullah
Al-Zori, Hawsawi, Al-Mousa, Al-Sharani
Al-Fraidi, Al-Jassim, Ali-Kariri, Al-Shalhoub

Al-Qahtani, Al-Shamrani


The Spain squad are together for their first competitive match since being crowned European champions in Poland and Ukraine this week. But first comes an international friendly against Saudi Arabia, and coach Vicente Del Bosque has made some high profile selections in his 23-man contingent.

Despite only recently returning from a long-term absence due to a broken leg, David Villa makes the squad. However, the fact that he has not seen much first-team action recently will see Chelsea striker Fernando Torres given the nod in attack.

Carles Puyol will not feature as he is still recovering from a fractured cheekbone he suffered on club duty. This will likely see a central defensive partnership of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique at the back.

Del Bosque has adopted a 4-3-3 formation in recent matches, so expect a trio of Xavi, Xabi Alonso, and Sergio Busquets in midfield. Fresh off his recent accolade as Uefa Best Player in Europe Award, Andres Iniesta will feature to the left of Torres in attack, with Barcelona team-mate Pedro also set to start following his impressive start to the season. Usual squad regulars Javi Martinez and Alvaro Negredo have been left out.

World Cup Qualifiers commence this week, but Saudi Arabia have already failed to qualify for the tournament in Brazil, winning just one of their qualifying matches in the Asian section.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • The last match between the nations was a friendly in 2010 in which Spain came out 3-2 winners over Saudi Arabia. David Villa, Fernando Llorente, and Xabi Alonso bagged the goals.
  • Spain are the only team in history to win three major international tournaments consecutively.
  • The only player to score for Spain against Saudi Arabia in a competitive match is Juanito, who netted in a 1-0 win in the 2002 World Cup.
  • Only two Saudi Arabia players have found the net against Spain in all competitions, Osama Hawsawi and Sultan Al Namare.
  • The coach of the Asian side is Frank Rijkaard, who enjoyed a prosperous spell in Spain with Barcelona from 2003-2008.
  • Saudi Arabia only won one of their 2014 World Cup qualifying matches, a 3-0 win against Thailand.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
Players to Watch
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Andrés Iniesta Luján
Position:
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The Uefa Best Player in Europe Award was presented to the Barcelona star last week, further proving his phenomenal pedigree as a footballer. This will not be his toughest of matches, so expect him to flourish with the space that will likely be available to him.
Osama Hawsawi
Osama Hawsawi
Position: Defender
Squad Number: 0
Games Goals YC RC
3 0 0 0
Hawsawi currently plays for Anderlecht and so will feature in the Champions League this season, which proves he is a player of quality. A defender by trade but he also poses an attacking threat. He even has a goal against Spain on his CV.
Prediction
The current world and European champions begin their World Cup qualifying campaign against Georgia next week and prepare for their defence against Saudi Arabia, a side which they have a 100% record against in all competitions. With their superb passing and the firepower they have at their disposal, expect Del Bosque's men to make easy work of Frank Rijkaard's outfit.
Editor's Prediction
Spain 3

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