Spain can handle injuries says Marchena
Spain defender Carlos Marchena is optimistic the world champions have the strength in depth to cope with the loss of Barcelona playmaker Xavi for the upcoming UEFA EURO 2012 qualifiers against Lithuania and Scotland.
Xavi has been instrumental in helping both club and country achieve unprecedented success in recent years but Spain will have to do without the EURO 2008 player of the tournament for their next couple of games due to tendinitis.
Barca certainly seemed to have noticed the absence of their midfield schemer in the games he has missed so far this season. In the seven matches Xavi has started, Barca have won six and drawn away to Rubin Kazan in the UEFA Champions League, while in the three matches where he has either been absent or started on the bench the Catalan giants have lost twice and drawn the other.
However, veteran centre-back Marchena has faith the national team can do well without Xavi, even though coach Vicente del Bosque is also without the 30-year-old's obvious replacement, Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas.
When asked if Spain were dependent on Xavi, the new Villarreal player said: "We hope not. Xavi is important in this side, but there are other team-mates who can take on his role with calm and confidence. We hope to be prepared so that we don't notice any player being missing."
Aside from Xavi and Fabregas, Spain will also be without three other attacking players after Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, Sevilla winger Jesus Navas and Barcelona wide man Pedro were forced out of Del Bosque's plans after picking up injuries over the weekend.
In their places, Del Bosque has called up Valencia's Aritz Aduriz and Pablo Hernandez as well as Villarreal duo Borja Valero and Bruno Soriano. Of the four newcomers, Aduriz and Valero have never before played for Spain while Bruno and Pablo only have three caps between them.
Spain began the defence of their European Championship crown with a 4-0 win over Liechtenstein in their opening qualifier last month. That left Del Bosque's side in third place in Group I - a point behind leading duo Scotland and Lithuania, who have both played a game more. Spain meet Lithuania in Del Bosque's home town of Salamanca on Friday night before travelling to Glasgow to face the Scots four days later.
Looking ahead to those two matches, striker Fernando Llorente said: "I think they are two very important games. Lithuania are an opponent who are going to keep it very tight, who are coming into the game having beaten the Czech Republic and drawn with Scotland. We will have to be very attentive, because they can be dangerous on the counter-attack."