Puerto Rico - Spain Preview: European champions look to warm up in style ahead of new season
A month and a half after their triumphant title defence at Euro 2012, Vicente del Bosque's side return to action with a friendly encounter against the Caribbean minnows
By Karthick Arvinth
Krause, Arrieta, Jones, Martinez
Perez, Cabrero, Marrero
Arbeloa, Pique, Ramos, Monreal
Fabregas, Busquets, Alonso
Silva, Torres, Iniesta
Spain veterans Xavi Hernandez, Carles Puyol and David Villa have been rested for Wednesday's clash with Puerto Rico at the Juan Ramon Loubriel Stadium in Bayamon.
Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo also misses the cut, while the trio of Jordi Alba, Javi Martinez and Juan Mata have been excused from the trip after representing their country at the London Olympics.
Malaga's Nacho Monreal has been called up as replacement for Alba and is likely to start at left-back.
Puerto Rico boss Jeaustin Campos is expected to name his strongest possible line-up for what is arguably the most high-profile friendly in the island's footballing history.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Puerto Rico have won just three of their last 13 matches (W3, D4, L6).
- The Caribbean side, who are ranked 138th in the world, have never faced a reigning world champion before.
- Puerto Rico failed in their quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, falling in the second round of Concacaf qualifiers.
- Spain are on a 11-match unbeaten run (W8, D3). Their last defeat was a 1-0 reverse against England in November.
- La Roja's 19-man squad for the friendly includes six players from Barcelona and five from Real Madrid.
- Fernando Torres (pictured right), 28, needs just two more caps to record 100 international appearances for Spain.
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Top 3 Predictions
Puerto Rico 0-8 Spain
- 17.24 %
Puerto Rico 0-3 Spain
- 11.29 %
Puerto Rico 0-4 Spain
- 11.15 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Aug 15, 2012||Puerto Rico 1 - Spain 2|
|Aug 15, 2012||Puerto Rico 1 - Spain 2||FR|
|Jun 3, 2012||Puerto Rico 1 - Nicaragua 1||FR|
|Jun 2, 2012||Puerto Rico 3 - Nicaragua 1||FR|
|Feb 25, 2012||Nicaragua 1 - Puerto Rico 0||FR|
|Nov 15, 2011||Puerto Rico 3 - Saint Lucia 0||WCQ|
|6||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|22||Jesús Navas González||Midfielder|
The Florida-born defender rose to prominence in the Italian lower divisions, where he spent much of his early career including a short spell at the Serie B outfit Lecce. Arrieta returned to North America in 2008 to sign with the Puerto Rico Islanders, where his consistent performances saw him being named as one of top 25 players of the decade in the now defunct United Soccer Leagues First Division.
The upcoming season is set to be a make-or-break one for the Chelsea forward, especially now with Didier Drogba embarking on his new life in China. The €63 million-man made an encouraging enough start as he opened the scoring with a well-taken goal in the Blues' 2-3 defeat to Manchester City in Saturday's Community Shield.
Victory in the Caribbean seems a mere formality for the Spaniards, who will look to get a decent run-out and build up their fitness levels before the serious business of a new club season starts.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed