MADRID - Vicente del Bosque has been
showered with honours since Spain won their first World Cup last
year, but the coach must address wretched form in international
friendlies when his side host Colombia on Wednesday.
The match at Real Madrid's Bernabeu stadium, in
aid of the Spanish players' union (AFE), comes after the world
and European champions suffered a 4-1 drubbing in Argentina in
September and lost 4-0 to Portugal in Lisbon two months later.
Spain, who top the FIFA rankings, are playing 50th-ranked
Colombia for only the second time - the previous meeting
between the pair in a friendly in Bogota in July 1981 ended 1-1.
Del Bosque, awarded the honorary title of Marquis by Spain's
King Juan Carlos on Friday, said he did not want a repeat of the
Portugal result and the match would be a chance for his side to
hone their skills ahead of March's Euro 2012 qualifiers against
Czech Republic and Lithuania.
"The players have shown some positive signs together,
although we still have the blemish of the Portugal match which
cannot happen again," the 60-year-old former Real Madrid player
told a news conference on Friday.
Del Bosque has kept faith with his World Cup-winning squad,
with only Barcelona central defender Carles Puyol missing out
Midfielder Javi Martinez and forward Juan Mata have dropped
to the Under-21s, although the injured Mata has withdrawn from
their friendly against Denmark on Tuesday.
Spain continue the defence of their European championship
title on March 25 at home to the Czech Republic and four days
later visit Lithuania. They top Group I with three wins from
Colombia coach Hernan Dario Gomez has picked an
attack-minded squad which includes Giovanni Moreno, the best
player in the Argentine league in the last six months playing
for Racing Club, and Porto striker Radamel Falcao Garcia.
Gomez, who coached Colombia in their last appearance at a
World Cup finals in France in 1998, took charge again last May.
He is preparing his team for the Copa America in Argentina in
July and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Spain: Iker Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Carlos
Marchena, Joan Capdevila; Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets,
Andres Iniesta; David Villa, Fernando Torres.
Colombia: David Ospina; Pablo Armero, Mario Yepes, Luis
Amaranto Perea, Camilo Zuniga; Juan Cuadrado, Yulian Anchico,
Adrian Ramos; Giovanni Moreno; Radamel Falcao Garcia, Dayro
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