News24

Spain fully fit for Turkey

2009-03-27 17:14

Madrid - The five Spanish players who joined up with the squad with minor problems have recovered and will be available for the two World Cup qualifiers against Turkey, coach Vicente del Bosque said on Friday.

Striker David Villa, midfielders Xavi and David Silva and defenders Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique had all been doubtful for Saturday's match in Madrid and Wednesday's clash in Istanbul.

"There were some light injuries and problems that have been improving all the time and all the players in the squad will all be available," Del Bisque said at a news conference. "We can choose the team we think is the best."

The European champions are unbeaten in 29 matches stretching back to a 1-0 home defeat against Romania in November 2006 and top Group Five with a maximum 12 points from four matches, four ahead of the second-placed Turks.

Del Bosque, a former coach of Real Madrid and Istanbul-based side Besiktas, noted that Turkish club soccer had improved greatly in recent years and said Spain would have to be prepared for a difficult test.

"This is a team that knows how to keep the ball. They are going to make it very hard for us to get possession and they are real fighters," he added.

"They are the first ones to know we are not invincible and we will have to work very hard to get the win."

Xavi, who had been suffering from an Achilles problem, said he was back in perfect shape and was focusing on helping Spain get the six points that would virtually secure their place in South Africa next year.

"We are enjoying our status as favourites, it's not a problem for us," he said at an earlier news conference.

"Turkey are a very patriotic and aggressive side and it's going to be a very competitive game."

Speaking alongside Xavi, Ramos said it was great for the team that the five Liverpool players in the squad were performing so well in the English Premier League.

"But we all bring something," the Real Madrid defender said. "We try to make sure the whole is strong and it's not important which club provides how many players but what each individual brings to the side."

Reuters