Iker Casillas in contention for Spain
Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque looks set to make up to six changes to his side for Tuesday’s final World Cup 2014 qualifier at home to Georgia, one of which could see Iker Casillas return in goal.
The reigning world champions, who need one more point to seal automatic qualification to next summer’s finals in Brazil, were less than impressive in Friday’s 2-1 home win over Belarus, and Del Bosque hinted he will shake up his side when speaking at his prematch press conference in Albacete on Monday night.
One the switches could return national captain Casillas to his usual spot between the posts, suggested the veteran coach.
"There will definitely be some changes, and one could be in goal," Del Bosque said. "This debate will not be eternal. We have three superb goalkeepers, and any of them could play. It is not a problem to decide between them, if there is a problem it is because of the options we have."
Alvaro Negredo is tipped to replace Michu up front, after the Swansea attacker put in a subdued performance on his La Roja debut, while Andres Iniesta -- a substitute last weekend -- is sure to start in the game being played close to his home town of Fuentealbilla. Jesus Navas could replace his Manchester City teammate David Silva in a rejigged midfield.
There could also be changes at full-back, with Alvaro Arbeloa and Nacho Monreal -- who was subbed at half-time on Friday -- being replaced by the more attacking Juanfran Torres of Atletico Madrid and Alberto Moreno of Sevilla -- who would be making his first senior international appearance.
"With Arbeloa and Monreal [against Belarus] we had offensive presence but they did not leave gaps for us," Del Bosque said kindly. "We did not take advantage of their crosses. I hope we take better options in the final third [against Georgia]."
At centre-half both Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos have minor niggles, so Real Sociedad’s Inigo Martinez could come in for a second cap, with Sergio Busquets dropping back another option.
"We do not want to force anyone," Del Bosque said. "We will see who is ready to play."
The former Madrid coach was more verbose when asked why Spain -- who have only scored 12 goals in their seven qualifiers so far -- have struggled so much in breaking down opposition sides who sit deep and defend.
"We have had four ugly games, uncomfortable, but three in which we played well, especially the wins in France and Belarus," he said. "We are very offensive, but the data say we are a team who concede few goals and defend well. So we have a good balance. There have been teams who have felt weak against us. I do not think that will happen at the World Cup, as some very strong teams have qualified. The games there will be more open and entertaining."