Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque admits he has a "slight concern" over his side's walking wounded heading into the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, but is optimistic they will be fit to start the tournament.
Players such as Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas missed the end of the English Premier League season through injuries while Barcelona midfielders Xavi and Andres Iniesta were also struggling with knocks towards the end of the Primera Division campaign. However, the potentially crucial quartet were included in Del Bosque's final 23-man squad for the trip to South Africa and the Spain boss is hopeful any injury concerns will have cleared up in time for the competition. Spain's first match in Group H is against Switzerland on16 June.
When asked how the affected players were doing at today`s squad announcement in Madrid, Del Bosque said: "There is a slight concern but they are here and that's because the reports from the medical staff and physical trainers are positive and we are confident they will be at 100 per cent at the start of tournament."
Also included in Del Bosque's squad were three uncapped players in Victor Valdes, Pedro Rodriguez and Javi Martinez. Goalkeeper Valdes and winger Pedro have played key roles in helping Barcelona win seven trophies over the last 12 months, while young midfielder Martinez has impressed at Athletic Bilbao.
The seven players who have been cut from Del Bosque`s preliminary 30-man squad for South Africa are Villarreal trio Marcos Senna, Santi Cazorla and Diego Lopez, plus strikers Dani Guiza and Alvaro Negredo, as well as youngsters David De Gea and Cesar Azpilicueta.
Senna, Cazorla and Guiza were all members of Spain's UEFA Euro 2008-winning squad and played some part in the final win over Germany. Speaking about the three newcomers, Del Bosque said: "They have had a very good season and they are replacing others who, due to circumstances, have had a worse season, and they are coming in to cover all possibilities.
"We are thinking with the head but the heart also helps," he said. "In relation to the Confederations Cup we have made four changes, and eight with respect to the European Championships. Almost 75 per cent of the squad that were champions of Europe are in the list."
With regards to the players that missed out, Del Bosque admits it was not easy to end the FIFA World Cup dreams of those still hoping to make the final cut. "Of course it`s tough to discard the players who were in the first list. (But) now we need to look to the future. These are the best players for us," the former Real Madrid coach said.
Aside from Switzerland, Spain have also been drawn alongside Chile and Honduras in Group H in South Africa.
Please note that squad lists only become official after they have been submitted to and announced by FIFA.