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International friendly preview: Spain v China

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Jun 2012

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Spain’s full Euro 2012 squad will be on show for the first time when the European and world champions host China in a friendly on Sunday.

Vicente del Bosque’s side will be boosted by the inclusion of nine Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao players who were given time off to rest following the Copa del Rey final on May 25.

Barcelona midfielders Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Xavi Hernandez are among the welcome inclusions, as well as goalkeeper Victor Valdes and defender Gerard Pique.

Bilbao duo Javi Martinez and Fernando Llorente, together with Barca forward Pedro Rodriguez, round out the bulk of the group who missed Spain’s training camp and warm-up matches in Switzerland.

“The Barcelona and Athletic players return to activity when we get back for the friendly against China,” Del Bosque said.

“I hope we have a great atmosphere there and it will be a good send-off before the Euros.”

The hit out will be Spain’s last before the European championships, where they will face Italy, the Republic of Ireland and Croatia in Group C of the tournament.

Spain made light work of Serbia and South Korea on either side of their training camp, scoring six goals and conceding just one.

Fernando Torres, Xabi Alonso and Alvaro Negredo, who replaced injured striker David Villa in the Euro squad, were among the scorers as Spain continued to impress in their build-up.

“We leave happy because we have had a few fantastic days’ training, no injuries, we’ve played two games and there has been a magnificent relationship among the group,” Del Bosque said.

Spain, who defeated Germany in the Euro 2008 final and the Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup decider, are aiming to become the first international side ever to win three major championships in succession.

China by contrast have already been eliminated from the race for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and travel to Spain in search of further experience under coach Jose Antonio Camacho.

Camacho, a decorated former player and manager of Spain, has selected a squad comprised solely of Chinese Super League players for the match.

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