PRETORIA - Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso
is a serious doubt for the European champions' last-16 clash
against neighbours Portugal after spraining an ankle in Friday's
2-1 win over Chile.
Alonso, who has been in solid form alongside Sergio Busquets
as one of coach Vicente del Bosque's two holding midfielders,
went over on the ankle late in the first half and had to be
replaced by Javi Martinez in the 73rd minute.
"There are serious doubts over whether he (Alonso) can play
on Tuesday," Del Bosque said on the Spanish football federation's
website on Saturday.
"He is undergoing treatment and we'll see whether he is in
good enough shape," he added. "If not, someone else will take
Victory over the Portuguese in Cape Town would set up a
quarter-final against Paraguay or Japan and Del Bosque's side,
one of the pre-tournament favourites, could meet either
Argentina, Mexico, England or Germany in the last four.
Del Bosque said he had full confidence in Martinez, who was
a surprise inclusion in the squad, and predicted the 21-year-old
had a long career ahead of him in the national side.
"We have to gradually give him more experience and he'll be
a very important player," the coach added.
Del Bosque said after the win over Chile that he was
concerned about Portugal's team as a whole and not just forward
Cristiano Ronaldo, adding he had been impressed by their
performance in Friday's 0-0 draw with Group G winners Brazil.
"No, I am concerned about Portugal," he said at a news
conference when asked about Ronaldo, who plays with Spain
internationals Iker Casillas, Alonso, Sergio Ramos, Raul Albiol
and Alvaro Arbeloa at Real Madrid.
"We saw today (Friday) how they controlled the Brazilians,"
Del Bosque added.
"They were not prevented from playing their football and
they counter-attacked. The fact that we got Portugal in the next
round instead of Brazil is not a relief."
Follow FFT.com on Twitter
Join FFT.com on Facebook
Central defender fit enough to play in the Champions League final at Wembley
Bayern Munich unfazed by the need to be more clinical in attack against Borussia Dortmund
Ruud Gullit believes Bayern Munich are in for a shock when they take on Borussia Dortmund
Napoli president denies reports that he has named Rafael Benitez as club's new manager
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010