Vicente del Bosque has explained why he has called Nacho Fernandez to the Spain squad and why he is taking Finland seriously this Friday.
La Roja head into this September’s 2014 World Cup qualifier in Helsinki with a number of absences in defence and midfield.
On from Xabi Alonso, Thiago Alcantara, Javi Martinez, Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique all missing the initial squad through injury or suspension, Del Bosque lost Sergio Busquets and Inigo Martinez on Monday through injury.
“Why? Because the last time I saw him I liked him,” the 62-year-old mused in today’s edition of AS.
“He has anticipation with much sense, he has pace and plays simple, without complicating moving the ball.
“He can also play at centre-back or full-back. He must have something for [Jose] Mourinho to take him into the first team at Madrid and for [Carlo] Ancelotti and [Zinedine] Zidane to have kept him.
“He is also a kid who has been through every youth level with the national team.
“We are not dramatising the absences. We have considerable absences in midfield and also in defence because there is no Pique.
“But those who are here will do well because they have the conditions. We go to Finland with tranquillity for those that have been called up.”
Del Bosque warned of the difficulty he expects, though, in taking La Roja out to Helsinki.
“For Spain, the commitment this Friday of facing Finland is fundamental for qualifying for the World Cup in Brazil.
“France are on the prowl, and Finland still have a chance and hope to beat Spain to fight for the play-offs. We have to be very careful about this game.
“Also, remember that the results of Finland in qualifiers have been close, such that they are an uncomfortable opponent and in their stadium they grow.
“Recent meetings cannot be relied on either. We drew in Gijon last March and the last time we visited Helsinki in 2007, we could not score in a 0-0.
“We do not expect a comfortable match, but I have confidence that we shall move forward in anticipation of Georgia and Belarus in October.”