Sunday, October 2

Ansu Fati and Real Madrid return to the national team


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Luis Enrique’s Spain is entrusted to Ansu Fati, the main novelty in the list of summoned for the matches against Greece and Sweden that will decide the immediate future of the selection on their presence in the next World Cup. The azulgrana returns to the national team after overcoming his serious injury and is emerging as the main offensive reference of a team that is again patched due to casualties.

Fati, who turned 19 on October 31, has been away from the national team for eleven months, practically the same as he has been away from the pitch. He made his debut in September 2020 against Germany, and just three days later he dazzled against Ukraine, which he lunched on his own in a splendid first half. In October he added another two games, shortly before he suffered a serious meniscus injury that prevented him, among many other things, from going to the Eurocup.

Luis Enrique has so much faith in him that he even said that he would take him to his team even injured. His return is one of the best news for the Asturian, who is haunted by casualties in his last calls. It hurts, especially, that of Ferran Torres, who had earned himself to be the benchmark forward of today’s Spain, with 12 goals in 22 international appearances. But also that of Oyarzabal, another forward in top form with an extraordinary performance every time he wears the red jersey.

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The attack is the line with the most news. Morata and Dani Olmo also return after overcoming their respective injuries. And Brahim enters, who made his debut with the rest of the Under-21s in the friendly against Lithuania prior to the Eurocup, and who now enters the group with full rights thanks to his great year at Milan. Luis Enrique also recovers Rodrigo Moreno for the cause, out of the team for a year, beyond being one of those called up for bubble B in the last European Championship.

The last big news is the presence of Carvajal, to which injuries have finally given a break to play for Spain. He is the first Real Madrid player to appear on a national team list since March.

Stability in the goal, where Unai Simón, De Gea and Robert Sánchez remain. Also in the center of the rear, where the coach is clear that, if there is an injury in between, his men are Eric García, Laporte, Pau Torres and Íñigo Martínez.

Jordi Alba and Gayá return to the left-back, leaving Marcos Alonso out despite his good performance in the final phase of the Nations League.

There are hardly any changes also in the center of the field. Immovable Busquets and Rodri in the midfield position, the four interiors will be Koke, Merino, Gavi and Soler, who also returns after his brilliant debut in September and missing the last call due to injury.

A harrowing play-off

In an especially intense year, with the Eurocup and the final four of the Nations League, the team still has another main course left to finish the year, perhaps the most tricky. Spain plays its direct presence in the next World Cup in Qatar in two games. Failure to do so, failure to beat Greece in Athens (Thursday, 11) and Sweden in La Cartuja de Sevilla (Sunday, 14) would be a play-off with an uncertain future.

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Once there, he would have to face two single-game qualifiers in March to confirm his presence in the final phase. Again, with no margin for error and with the added anguish of missing a World Cup event for the first time since 1974, 48 years ago then.

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