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Panama - Spain Preview: Del Bosque leads his side to Central America with an experimental 19-man squad
La Roja have left some key players with their respective clubs, but this friendly is an excellent opportunity for the coach to get a view of players on the cusp of the first team
By Martin Macdonald
Dasent, Boloy, Algandona, Rodriguez
Quintero, Barahona, Godoy
Montoya, Ramos, Albiol, Alba
Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta
Mata, Villa, Pedro
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has allowed leave to players who have been playing a lot of football recently or who have just recovered from injury. Squad regulars Fernando Torres, David Silva, Xavi, Xabi Alonso and fit-again Gerard Pique have all not travelled to Panama.
Vice-captain Carles Puyol misses to trip to Central America as he is still recovering from the dislocated elbow he suffered against Benfica in the Champions League.
This will certainly be an opportunity for the world champions to experiment with their line-up and personnel. Del Bosque may start his tried and tested players but expect there to be a place in the starting XI for Martin Montoya and Juan Mata, who have both been called up.
Players on the brink of the starting line-up will certainly be itching to get on and impress in this international friendly. Squad members such as Roberto Soldado, Jesus Navas, Benat and Markel Susaeta, who will make his debut pending his introduction, will all likely get a run out by the veteran Spanish coach.
This is certainly a glamour friendly for Panama, who will certainly enjoy the gate-receipt tally that the European giants will bring. They will be looking to forward Blas Perez for inspiration in the clash. The FC Dallas striker has scored 26 goals in 64 games for his country and will be their main attacking threat in this match.
Panama's leading goalscorer of all-time, Luis Tejada, has not made the squad to face Spain.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Panama are currently ranked 46th in the offical Fifa world rankings.
- Panama's leading goalscorer of all time is Luis Tejada. He has netted 34 goals in 69 times for his country. However, he has not made the 19-man squad to face the world champions.
- The Central American side's last match came against Cuba and ended in a 1-1 draw. Nelson Barahona scored a 77th minute equaliser for his country to earn a draw.
- Spain ended a run of 24 consecutive qualification wins in October when they drew 1-1 with France. Sergio Ramos scored a first-half strike but Olivier Giroud equalised with the last kick of the game.
- La Roja have been at the top of the Fifa world rankings since October 2011.
- This match will be the first time in history that Spain have made the trip to Panama City to play their Spanish-speaking opponents.
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Top 3 Predictions
Panama 0-4 Spain
- 15.67 %
Panama 0-5 Spain
- 15.67 %
Panama 0-3 Spain
- 12.5 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Nov 14, 2012||Panama 1 - Spain 5|
|Mar 27, 2013||Panama 2 - Honduras 0||WCQ|
|Mar 23, 2013||Jamaica 1 - Panama 1||WCQ|
|Feb 7, 2013||Panama 2 - Costa Rica 2||WCQ|
|Jan 13, 2013||Panama 2 - Guatemala 0||FR|
|Jan 11, 2013||Panama 3 - Guatemala 0||FR|
|Returns:||Panama £1260.00||Sign up with bet365 for a free bet up to £200|
|Returns:||Draw £360.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Spain £11.67||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|23||Felipe Abdiel Baloy Ramírez||Defender|
|13||Jean Carlos Cedeño||Midfielder|
|20||Aníbal Cesis Godoy||Midfielder|
|2||Raúl Albiol Tortajada||Defender|
|6||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|22||Jesús Navas González||Midfielder|
In the absence of Luis Tejada, the FC Dallas forward will be relied upon to get goals for the Panamanians. He is useful in and around the box so if his team-mates can provide some decent service, there is every chance he could grab a goal.
|Andrés Iniesta Luján|
The Barcelona man may be employed in a slightly deeper role in this match due to the absence of Camp Nou team-mate Xavi, who is rested for this match. However, with the amount of space he will likely be allowed out there, he will probably run the game.
This should not be a taxing match at all for Spain as they make the trip to Central America to take on Panama. The gulf in quality is enormous, and even with Vicente del Bosque's changed 19-man squad the quality they possess throughout the team should see them cruise to victory. Expect total dominance from the world champions.
Times In GMT
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed