MADRID: Strikers Paco Alcacar and Diego Costa along with midfielder Juan Mata are notable absentees from Vincent Del Bosque’s provisional Spain squad for the defence of their European crown at the Euro 2016 finals in France next month.
Costa’s form has been indifferent this term in comparison to Chelsea’s title winning campaign last year and his scoring rate dipped from 20 to 12 goals.
Valencia’s Alcacer may consider himself especially unfortunate after ending the qualifying campaign as Spain’s five-goal top scorer. Fernando Torres has also missed out despite having a renaissance under Diego Simeone’s Atletico de Madrid.
Spain had few problems racing back to the finals by winning Group C. They began in style with a 5-1 defeat of Macedonia and went on to win nine of their 10 games, scoring 23 goals and conceding a mere three (equal with England as the best defence).
A lone defeat, by 2-1 away to up Slovakia, was Spain’s first qualifying defeat since October 2006. But they still ended the group five points clear of their Slovak runners-up and looking ominously dangerous title contenders once more.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto/POR), David De Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)
Defenders: Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Marc Bartra (all Barcelona), Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta (both Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Koke, Saul Niguez (both Atletico Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea/ENG), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Isco (Real Madrid), Bruno Soriano (Villarreal)
Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)