Spain Announces World Cup Squad; Belgium Gives Preliminary List

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Spain has its 23-roster ready for Russia (FEF)
(WFI) Spain has announced its 23-player World Cup squad with practically no surprises.

Head coach Julen Lopetegui named his roster for the Russia tournament which includes the majority of players used by the 2010 World Champions to qualify for the upcoming football’s global event.

Only a couple of omissions have especially surprised some in the Spanish press: Chelsea's Alvaro Morata and Barcelona’s Sergi Roberto.

Morata has not lived up to expectations this year for Chelsea while Sergi Roberto has had a very good season, but Lopetegui preferred Real Sociedad’s Odriozola in his position as a right fullback.

In goal, Manchester United's David De Gea is the starting goalkeeper while veteran Pepe Reina will be backing him up.

Sergio Ramos will captain the side and is joined by Real Madrid teammates Marco Asensio, Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Lucas Vazquez, and Isco.

Barcelona's contribution include Andres Iniesta, who is retiring from international football after Russia, along with Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique.

On the contrary, players like Arsenal’s Hector Bellerin, Atletico Madrid forward Vitolo and Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez were also omitted from the final World Cup players list.

Spain, seen by many as tournament favorites along with Germany and Brazil, open their campaign against Portugal on June 15 before facing Iran five days later. They close Group B versus Morocco on June 25.

Full squad:
Goalkeepers: David De Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa (Athletic Bilbao)

Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho (all Real Madrid), Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique (both Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Odriozola (Real Sociedad)

Midfield: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta ( Barcelona) Saúl (Atletico), Koke ( Atletico), Thiago (Bayern) David Silva (Manchester City), Isco, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vázquez (all Real Madrid)

Forwards: Iago Aspas (Celta), Rodrigo Moreno (Valencia), Diego Costa (Atletico)

Belgium omits Nainggolan

Roma’s Radja Nainggolan has been left out of World Cup in Russia despite having completed one of the best seasons of his career.

Belgium’s coach Roberto Martinez announced this Monday a preliminary 28-man selection that does not include Nainggolan for the second World Cup in a row.

Nainggolan will be absent from the Russia World Cup (Wikimedia)
Nainggolan also failed to make the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

There has often been controversy surrounding the Roma midfielder and it is widely known that he remains a regular smoker, a lifestyle choice many believe Martinez and former coach Marc Wilmots have both taken issue with.

He remains, however, among the best midfielders in Serie A and a consistent driving force in the Roma side that finished third in the league this season and reached the Champions League semifinals.

Nainggolan had previously announced his international retirement last August, but was called up by Martinez for the friendlies against Mexico and Japan in November. 

Belgium’s preliminary World Cup list does include stars like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne.  

Belgium’s squad will be trimmed to a final 23-player roster on June 4 before traveling to Russia where they will play against England, Tunisia and Panama.

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Matz Sels (Newcastle United).

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Laurent Ciman (LAFC), Leander Dendoncker (Anderlecht), Christian Kabasele (Watford), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Jordan Lukaku (Lazio), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Nacer Chadli (West Bromwich Albion), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Axel Witsel (Tianjin Quanjian)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli)

Homepage photo: F.E.F.

By INSIDER Javier Monne

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