Spain’s national football team began this week its preparations for the World Cup Finals to be held in Russia mid-June.
The 2010 FIFA world cup champions only enjoyed nine days of their training camp in Spain before they travel to Krasnodar, southern Russia, on 7th of June to continue their training for their 15th world cup appearance.
Spain stands in 8th place in the FIFA World Ranking with 1,162 points, while Germany is still ranked at the top of the table with 1,544 points, ahead of Brazil and Belgium sitting in second and third.
“La Roja” (The Red One), managed by head coach Julen Lopetegui drew against Germany 1-1, and beat Argentina 6-1 in their last two friendly matches, which dropped their ranking position from 6th place, in favor of Switzerland, while France advances to 7th place ahead of Chile and Poland in 9th and 10th.
La Roja began its training camp on May 29 at Las Rozas, in the capital Madrid, to prepare for their friendly match against Switzerland which took place June 3rd on Estadio de la Ceramica, Villareal’s football club stadium, ending in a 1-1 draw.
Six Real Madrid players were granted leave of absence for the friendly match against Switzerland after their European Champions League Final win, and Lopetegui called on seven players from the U21 Spanish team to replace them in training until the Madrid players are back.
The team will be heading to Russia on the 7th of June, where they will continue their training camp in Krasnodar’s sports city facilities, which will hold the second friendly match against Tunisia on June 9.
Lopetegui made sure the Krasnodar’s sports city facilities provide the perfect conditions for the team, thanks to its ideal climate which is very similar to Madrid and southern Spain, making the transition more comfortable as they, later on, move to colder climates.
The facility isolates the team from all the noise and fans to provide a calm, quiet, and a focused environment.
The location is only 15 minutes away from the city’s airport and is 30 minutes away from Fisht Stadium (Sochi) that will hold the team’s first match, Kazan Arena (Kazan) is two hours away, and Kaliningrad Stadium (Kaliningrad) takes two hours and 10 minutes.
Spain qualified for the Mondial without any defeats finishing at the top of group that includes Italy, Albania, Israel, Macedonia, and Liechtenstein.
In the Final Draw of the world cup groups, La Roja was placed in the first spot alongside the best teams in the world based on FIFA ranking and became the first chosen for group B.
The Spanish team will face Portugal in their first match in Sochi on June 15, Iran in Kazan for the second match and Morocco in Kaliningrad June 25 in the final group stages.
If Spain top group B, they will go up against the runners-up in group A, which includes Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Uruguay, and in case they place second they will face the leader of group A.
The final 23 selected for the squad are: Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao).
Defenders: Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (both Barcelona), Alvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Sergio Ramos, Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal (all Real Madrid).
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta (both Barcelona), Saul Niguez, Koke (both Atletico Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich).
Forwards: Lucas Vazquez, Isco, Marco Asensio (all Real Madrid), Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Rodrigo Mourinho (Valencia), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid). Spain was the world cup winners eight years ago, which was their first world cup win since their first participation in 1934, and has reached the semi-final twice before.
Source: Kuwait News Agency