Injured Fabregas, Torres in Spain World Cup squad

(AFP file) Cesc Fabregas pictured in 2009

MADRID (AFP) – Spain coach Vicente del Bosque Thursday named injured players Cesc Fabregas and Fernando Torres in his final squad for the World Cup, along with Barcelona's uncapped keeper Victor Valdes.

Most of the players who won Euro 2008 are in the 23-man squad for South Africa, including star striker David Villa, who is set to leave cash-strapped Valencia for Barcelona in a 40-million-euro deal.

Spain, among the favourites for the World Cup, which runs from June 11-July 11, face Switzerland, Honduras and Chile in Group H of the opening round.

The Spanish national team holds the distinction of being the only side to ever be ranked number one in the FIFA standings without winning a World Cup. Their best result remains fourth place in 1950.

In addition to Valdes, other uncapped players are Barcelona winger Pedro Rodriguez and Athletic Bilbao's 21-year-old midfielder Javier Martinez.

"They have had a good season, they are coming to strengthen a squad as substitutes for other players," del Bosque said of the newcomers.

The coach had hinted recently that he would call up Valdes, after the 28-year-old's strong form for the European and Spanish champions over the past two seasons.

Arsenal midfielder Fabregas and Liverpool striker Torres have both missed the latter part of the season through injury.

Liverpool's medical chief said earlier this month that Torres, who scored the winning goal when Spain won Euro 2008 against Germany, may not be fit in time for start of the World Cup.

Fabregas, who has 48 caps for Spain, has been out of action since cracking a bone in his fibula during a Champions League quarter-final first-leg game against Barcelona on March 31.

Del Bosque admitted that he had a "slight concern" over the fitness of the two players, but said doctors "are fully confident they will be there at the start of the finals."

Also named is midfielder Andres Iniesta, who tore a muscle in his right calf muscle during training last month but returned for the last few minutes in Barcelona's defeat of Valladolid at the weekend, which brought the club a second consecutive league title.

The final squad was drawn from a list of 30 players announced last week.

Among those cut were Villareal's Marcos Senna and striker Dani Guiza of Turkish club Fenerbahce.


Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Manuel Reina (Liverpool/ENG), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).

Defenders: Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa (all Real Madrid), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol (both Barcelona), Carlos Marchena (Valencia).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal/ENG), Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta (all Barcelona), Javier Martinez (Athletic Bilbao).

Forwards: Juan Manuel Mata, David Silva (both Valencia), David Villa (Valencia/Barcelona), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Fernando Torres (Liverpool/ENG), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic de Bilbao).

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