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Valdes, Pedro and Martinez included in Spain squad

Madrid: Spain coach Vicente del Bosque sprung three surprises in his 23-man squad for the World Cup in South Africa, including Barcelona pair Victor Valdes and Pedro plus Athletic Bilbao midfielder Javi Martinez.

Goalkeeper Valdes replaces Villarreal`s Diego Lopez as Spain`s third-choice behind number one and captain Iker Casillas of Real Madrid and number two Pepe Reina of Liverpool.

In the forward line, Pedro is included along with Bilbao`s Fernando Llorente, while Fenerbahce`s Daniel Guiza and Sevilla`s Alvaro Negredo miss out. Martinez was preferred to Marcos Senna and Santi Cazorla, both of Villarreal.

"We assessed the players` form over the balance of the season and we need to take the best players regardless of age," Del Bosque said at a news conference.

He also culled Atletico Madrid keeper David de Gea and Osasuna defender Cesar Azpilicueta from the preliminary 30-man squad he named earlier this month.

Among the European champions` injury concerns, Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas were in the squad as expected and Del Bosque said their prognosis was positive.

"We still have some slight concerns but they have been included because the message we are getting from the medical staff is positive and they are expected to arrive at the championships at 100 percent," he said.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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