Spain new boys out to make a mark against Ukraine
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up several new faces for Friday`s Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Ukraine with forward Juanmi and midfielder Vitolo among those keen to make a mark.
Madrid: Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has called up several new faces for Friday`s Euro 2016 qualifier at home to Ukraine with forward Juanmi and midfielder Vitolo among those keen to make a mark.
The pair have been impressive for their clubs Malaga and Sevilla respectively this season and could get a chance to shine on the international stage as the European champions look to keep up the pressure on Group C leaders Slovakia.
Slovakia beat Spain 2-1 in October and have a maximum 12 points ahead of their Friday game against visiting group minnows Luxembourg. Spain and Ukraine are level on nine points, with La Roja in second spot thanks to a superior goal difference.
Del Bosque, whose side also tackle the Netherlands in a friendly on March 31, is likely to deploy a familiar starting lineup at Sevilla`s Sanchez Pizjuan stadium.
The withdrawal of Diego Costa with a hamstring injury means Juventus forward Alvaro Morata could play up front or Del Bosque may use Costa`s Chelsea team mate and midfielder Cesc Fabregas as a roving striker as he has with some success in the past.
Juanmi and Vitolo, who are in the senior squad for the first time along with Villarreal keeper Sergio Asenjo, made it clear to reporters on Wednesday at Spain`s training base outside Madrid that they would make the most of any chance they get.
"The main thing we can bring to the table is excitement at being the new boys, the desire and quality that we have," Vitolo told a news conference.
"In the national team the game is much faster and you have to think more," added the 25-year-old.
"My home at the moment is the Sanchez Pizjuan and it would be really great to make my debut there.
"If I do things well maybe I could make it to a European Championship or a World Cup."
Juanmi, 21, was drafted in on Monday as cover for Brazil-born Costa and said he had dreamed of playing for Spain as a child.
"Consolidating yourself at a club is the big goal and after that getting into the national squad is a dream for everyone who starts out in football," he told reporters. "Having achieved that fills me with pride."
Spain host Slovakia in early September in a match that may decide the group winners.