Spain head coach Luis Enrique announced his 26-man squad for 2022 FIFA World Cup. Sergio Ramos, the most capped player of Spain is not included in the squad for Qatar. Sergio Busquets, captain of La Rojas is the only player left out from Spain’s 2010 World Cup glory.
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A new look La Rojas on rise
Luis Enrique has picked a young squad with an average age of 25.3 years. The squad has only 6 players that have featured in a world cup before. Alvaro Morata, Jose Gaya and Aymeric Laporte are some of the experienced players who will be making their world cup debut. Enrique took over a broken Spanish side after their world cup exit at Russia and has transformed them into a cohesive unit. Spain’s golden era players were in decline post 2014 and the squad was in transition. Under Lucho, a complete transition took place and saw a change of guard for La Rojas. Spain had a strong outing at Euro 2020 and UEFA Nations League 2021 with a semi-final and runner-up finish in both the events respectively.
Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati, Eric Garcia, Ferran Torres along with the veterans Busquets and Alba make it to the squad from Barcelona. Dani Carvajal and Asensio of Real Madrid, Koke and Marcos Llorente from Atletico Madrid also make it to the squad. Nico Williams of Athletic Bilbao and Hugo Guillamon of Valencia were the surprise picks in the squad. Carlos Soler and Pablo Sarabia of PSG are also heading to Qatar for their maiden world cup appearance.
Luis Enrique speaking after the squad reveal
Sergio Ramos and Thiago didn’t make it to the squad of Enrique with the latter having had fitness issues at the beginning of the season. Ramos is out of national team’s reckoning since his injury plagued 2020/21 season. David De Gea didn’t manage to make it to the preliminary squad of Spain whereas a late turnaround in the form didn’t help Kepa to secure a spot to Qatar.
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Enrique said: “I’m not going to change to get to the World Cup. This is Luis Enrique’s team. We’re not going to die of fear. There’s no doubt about what you’re going to see in Spain. These are our qualities. Then the result, it is impossible to predict. It is the vision that we will see in Qatar and it is practically impossible to predict if that will be enough for us.”
When asked about Fati’s inclusion Enrique said: “Ansu’s level is unquestionable. He has gone through a difficult process. I had doubts until the last second. The illusion that I have has influenced in recovering the best Ansu. Is he close? Yes? No? We’ll see about this. He has played more at his club but it’s not fixed. I think it can be a great stimulus to return to a place like this, but they are doubts. clear. We will see it during the World Cup.”
Spain’s 26-man squad for 2022 FIFA World Cup
Goalkeepers : Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao/Spain), Robert Sanchez (Brighton/England), David Raya (Brentford/England).
Defenders : Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/England), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid/Spain), Eric Garcia (Barcelona/Spain), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia/Spain), Pau Torres (Villarreal/Spain), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City/England), Jordi Alba (Barcelona/Spain), Jose Gaya (Valencia/Spain).
Midfielders : Sergio Busquets (Barcelona/Spain), Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City/England), Gavi (Barcelona/Spain), Carlos Soler (PSG/France), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Pedri Gonzalez (Barcelona/Spain), Koke Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid/Spain).
Forwards : Ferran Torres (Barcelona/Spain), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao/Spain), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal/Spain), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid/Spain), Pablo Sarabia (PSG/Spain), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig/Germany), Ansu Fati (Barcelona/Spain).