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Xavi praises Spain depth following 5-0 rout of Saudi Arabia

FC Barcelona midfield maestro Xavi has praised the amount of quality at Vicente del Bosque’s disposal following La Furia Roja’s 5-0 thrashing of Saudi Arabia on Friday, 7 September.

Goals from Santi Cazorla (23′), Pedro (27′, 73′), Xavi (47′) and David Villa (63′) saw the two-time reigning European champions handle the Green Falcons with ease in Pontevedra.

“No matter who plays, the team does well,” Xavi told reporters.

“Even though these are players that haven’t played much, the team is not affected by it. Everyone is feeling great and we leave here happy.”

Spain v Saudi Arabia | International Friendly | 7 September 2012 | Starting XI

12 Victor Valdés
2 Raúl Albiol
3 Gerard Piqué
4 Nacho Eraso Monreal
5 Francisco Juanfran
10 Cesc Fábregas
13 Etxebarria Benat
16 Sergio Busquets
20 Santi Cazorla
9 Fernando Torres
11 Pedro

Now then, let’s compare Spain’s starting XI against Saudi Arabia with the team that faced Italy in the 2012 UEFA European Football Championship final at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine on 1 July 2012.

Spain v Italy | Euro 2012 Final | 1 July 2012 | Starting XI

1 Iker Casillas
3 Gerard Piqué
15 Sergio Ramos
17 Álvaro Arbeloa
18 Jordi Alba
8 Xavi
14 Xabi Alonso
16 Sergio Busquets
6 Andrés Iniesta
10 Cesc Fábregas
21 David Silva

As you can see, FC Barcelona duo Gerard Piqué and Sergio Busquets were the only two players who started both matches. Subsequently, Spain’s substitutes’ bench was absolutely stacked against Saudi Arabia on Friday, with Andrés Iniesta, David Silva, David Villa, Sergio Ramos, Xabi Alonso and Xavi amongst a bevy of five-star super-subs.

With that said, Del Bosque’s bench against Italy in the Euro 2012 final, which included the likes of Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Llorente, Fernando Torres, Javi Martinez,  Jesus Navas, Juan Mata, Pedro and Santi Cazorla, was not too bad either.

The moral of the story is that Spain boss Vicente del Bosque can probably select two completely different starting XI’s that could be extremely competitive on the world stage.

La Liga Transfer News

In other news, Atletico Madrid chairman Enrique Cerezo has dismissed reports linking in-form striker Radamel Falcao with an exit from the Estadio Vicente Calderón.

“I do not give him (Garcia) any importance,” insisted Cerezo.

“The player himself is not saying it, so there is nothing wrong. A father can say whatever he wishes about his sons, but Falcao has clearly explained that he is happy and content at Atletico and will be here for four years.”

Falcao has netted seven goals in his last three matches for club and county, including two hat-tricks, one of which came against Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup.

Sat 8 September, 2012
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