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Morata replaces Costa in Spain squad

Chelsea striker Diego Costa has been replaced in the Spain squad by Juventus forward Alvaro Morata for the upcoming Euro 2016 qualifiers.

Costa is suspended for the game with Luxembourg on October 9 but would be available to face Ukraine in Kiev three days later.

However, head coach Vicente del Bosque has opted to name Morata as his principle centre-forward as Spain look to secure mathematical qualification for the finals in France next year.

Thiago Alcantara, who was left bitterly disappointed to miss out on the previous squad, has been drafted in to replace Andres Iniesta, who picked up a hamstring injury in Barcelona’s 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in midweek.

Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos is a more surprising inclusion, with the centre-back having only returned to training in recent days following a shoulder injury.

Celta Vigo star Nolito has also earned a spot after his exceptional start to the season in La Liga, but Atletico Madrid’s Koke and Vitolo of Sevilla are not risked due to injury concerns.

Del Bosque, explaining his decisions, said: “We’re counting on Costa for the future but he is suspended for one game. We hope Sergio Ramos will be in the best shape possible but, if not, we’ll look for solutions.

“Koke still doesn’t look too good. We aren’t taking the risk. [Nacho] Monreal, Alberto Moreno and Marcos Alonso are good. There are alternatives for the left-hand side.

“We always had Nolito in mind, but we cannot take everyone. We have confidence in Sergio Rico. We’ve found no reason not to call him.”

Squad in full:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto), David de Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Bruno (Villarreal), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea), Isco (Real Madrid), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Juan Mata (Manchester United), David Silva (Manchester City), Nolito (Celta Vigo)

Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Pedro (Chelsea), Paco Alcacer (Valencia)

Fri 2 Oct, 2015
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