Martinez called up by Spain to replace Albiol
Madrid: Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up Real Sociedad centre back Inigo Martinez to replace the injured Raul Albiol for their final two World Cup qualifiers at home to Belarus and Georgia.
Napoli defender Albiol was forced to withdraw from the games against Belarus in Mallorca on October 11 and Georgia in Albacete four days later because of a muscle injury in his right leg.
"Once the results of the tests on Raul Albiol conducted by ... his club had been received and evaluated, the medical department of the Spanish team recommended he not join up with the squad," the soccer federation (RFEF) said on Spain`s website (www.sefutbol.com) on Saturday.
A later statement said Martinez would join the squad to provide cover for regular centre backs Gerard Pique of Barcelona and Real Madrid`s Sergio Ramos.
World and European champions Spain and France, who are assured of at least a place in the playoffs, both have 14 points at the top of Group I although Les Bleus have played one more match than their southern neighbours.
France`s final game is at home to Finland on October 15.