Del Bosque strikes the right balance

In the end there was no huge surprise. There were constant rumours that a shock was in store and that Vicente Del Bosque would raise a few eyebrows when he finally announced his 23-man squad but in the end it was pretty much what was expected.

Of course there were and will be complaints but the reaction in the Spanish Press has been positive and most agree that it is possibly the most balanced squad that could have been picked, although some still found reasons to criticise.

The big news was the inclusion of the injured Diego Costa. The Brazilian-born Atletico Madrid forward has said that he will be fit and even believes that he may play some part in the pre-tournament friendlies. It remains to be seen whether Del Bosque will risk him.

Also included in the forwards named were Fernando Torres and David Villa. Both strikers have seen better days and it would be fair to say they are past their prime but it seems that loyalty from the Coach has seen them included ahead of the likes of Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente.

With Costa still an injury worry, La Roja will need to have some experience on the bench should they lose the Rojiblanco star and both Negredo and Llorente, while talented, don’t have the knowledge that Torres and Villa have at this level. It would also appear to be a swansong for both, especially Villa, who has signed a contract to play in the MLS.

Although he is still only 32, he has looked off the pace at times this season and it is hard to see Del Bosque turning to him in the future. Pedro was the fourth forward named but he is expected to play more as an attacking winger.

In midfield Jesus Navas failed to make the list. The Manchester City winger had been carrying an injury and Del Bosque had announced that he wouldn’t be bringing unfit players to Brazil. In 2010 he brought Torres and now he is bringing Costa but as Santi Cazorla knows from four years ago, Del Bosque will risk one player but not two and so the former Sevilla man will get to go on holidays earlier than expected.

Also taken into consideration was that while Navas is an excellent player and can cause problems down the wing, in front of goal he can be unreliable and with that in mind, Cazorla, Juan Mata and even Koke offer more.

Barca’s Gerard Deulofeu was seen as a dark horse, so too was Real Madrid’s Isco, but the tournament comes a little too early for both players. They will more than likely get their chance to stake their claim after the competition as rumours in the Spanish media suggest that some key players will retire from international duty after Brazil.

A few were surprised that Dani Carvajal was not included but like Isco he will get his chance. Atleti’s Juanfran recovered from his Champions League final injury but the right-back slot is expected to go to Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta. There are concerns about the full-back’s experience at international level but the fact that he can play on both flanks outdoes the risk. The central defence will most likely be Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique but Raul Albiol and Javi Martinez will be on call if needed.

Apart from a few concerns about the forwards and some arguing that Atletico captain Gabi should have been called up, an AS article revealing the thoughts of a number of reports agreed with the 23.

They may change they tune should things turn sore or go wrong but right now Spain still remain one of the favourites to become the first European team to win in South America. Under Del Bosque they have broken all kinds of records and who is to say that this 23 can’t break one more.