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Spain - Serbia Preview: Vicente Del Bosque's experimental side look to begin Euro 2012 preparations with victory
The reigning World and European champions will be hoping to get the better of Sinisa Mihajlovic's men in St. Gallen as they look to hit form ahead of the Euros
By Luke Matthews
Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol, Alba
Alonso, Javi Garcia
Cazorla, Silva, Mata
Ivanovic, Subotic, Bisevac
Basta, Matic, Ignjovski, Kolarov
Vicente Del Bosque is set to name an experimental line-up in St. Gallen as the world and European champions step up their preparations for Euro 2012. With Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao facing each other on Friday evening in the Copa del Rey final, there are no representatives from the Catalan and Basque clubs in the national team squad to face Serbia.
With this in mind, Javi Garcia could make his debut for the Iberian country alongside Xabi Alonso. Despite originally being left out of the initial 21-man squad due to their Champions League exploits with Chelsea, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata have been called up and the latter looks set to start in attack.
The Euro 2012 favourites have the added pressure of replacing record goalscorer David Villa, who has been ruled out of the tournament. As such, Del Bosque will be keen to judge his striking options meaning Roberto Soldado could be given a starting role after his second-half hat-trick in Spain's 5-0 rout of Venezuela back in February.
Spain will be up against a Serbian side who will be looking to impress new coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, who will be taking charge of his first game. The former Fiorentina trainer has opted to drop several established stars including Milos Krasic, Zdravko Kuzmanovic, Nenad Milijas, Milan Jovanovic, Miralem Sulejmani and Nikola Zigic - instead opting for a youthful selection.
Branimir Aleksic, Nikola Maksimovic, Filip Mladenovic and Srdjan Miljailovic have all received their first call-ups to the senior national side and are expected to be in contention for substitute appearances. With the likes of Branislav Ivanovic, Neven Subotic, Aleksandr Kolarov and Zoran Tosic adding some vital experience to proceedings, Nemanja Matic, Lazar Markovic and Dejan Lekic could be given opportunities to stake their claim for a regular spot in the starting XI with Mihajlovic expected to experiment with a three-man defence.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Spain reached the Euro 2012 finals with a 100 per cent record in qualifying, picking up eight wins from eight in Group I.
- David de Gea, Juanfran, Adrian Lopez, Javi Garcia, Benat and Isco are all in line to make their international debuts for La Roja.
- Six players from the 23-man squad started their careers with Real Madrid before making a name for themselves elsewhere. They are Juanfran, Alvaro Dominguez, Javi Garcia, Juan Mata, Roberto Soldado and Alvaro Negredo.
- Serbia failed in their attempt to qualify for Euro 2012, eventually finishing third in Group C behind winners Italy and second-placed Estonia.
- After a successful playing career where he earned 63 caps for the Yugoslavia/Serbia national team, the game will mark Sinisa Mihajlovic's (pictured) first match as head coach after taking over last month.
- The Balkan nation's squad to face the reigning world and European champions has an average age of just 23 while 19 players are below 25.
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Top 3 Predictions
Spain 3-0 Serbia
- 16.32 %
Spain 3-1 Serbia
- 11.6 %
Spain 2-0 Serbia
- 11.54 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||May 26, 2012||Spain 2 - Serbia 0|
|Mar 26, 2013||France 0 - Spain 1||WCQ|
|Mar 22, 2013||Spain 1 - Finland 1||WCQ|
|Feb 6, 2013||Spain 3 - Uruguay 1||FR|
|Nov 14, 2012||Panama 1 - Spain 5||FR|
|Oct 16, 2012||Spain 1 - France 1||WCQ|
|Returns:||Spain £14.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Draw £410.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Serbia £460.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|2||Raúl Albiol Tortajada||Defender|
|22||Jesús Navas González||Midfielder|