MADRID - World champions Spain recalled
young forward Juan Mata and midfielder Javi Martinez on Friday
for this month's Euro 2012 Group I qualifiers at home to Czech
Republic and away to Lithuania.
The two 22-year-olds have played mostly for the under-21
side since taking part in Spain's successful World Cup campaign
in South Africa last year.
Spain play the Czechs on March 25 and travel to Lithuania
four days later.
Valencia's Mata comes in as cover for injured Barcelona
forward Pedro while Athletic Bilbao's Martinez replaces
Arsenal's Cesc Fabregas, who has a hamstring problem.
Athletic Bilbao defender Andoni Iraola was named to fill the
spot vacated by injured Barcelona captain Carles Puyol.
Spain top their group on nine points after three wins from
three matches. The Czechs have six points and Scotland and
Lithuania are level on four. Liechtenstein are bottom of the
five-nation standings with zero points.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque said he was concerned that many
members of the squad, particularly those from Barcelona and Real
Madrid, were fighting on three fronts in domestic and European
Barca top La Liga ahead of Real, while the great rivals play
each other in next month's King's Cup final and could meet in
the Champions League semi-finals.
"We are worried as the majority of our players are competing
for everything around the end of the season," Del Bosque told a
"In between there is a slot for the national team with two
very strong opponents, especially Czech Republic, who are our
biggest threat given the points they have," he added.
"Our main concern is to be as mentally focused as possible
because anything else would make our task tougher."
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes
(Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool).
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real
Madrid), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona),
Carlos Marchena (Villarreal), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal),
Andoni Iraola (Athletic Bilbao).
Midfielders: Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid),
Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao),
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal).
Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City), David Villa
(Barcelona), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Fernando Llorente
(Athletic Bilbao), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Juan Mata (Valencia).
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