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Oct 11, 2012

Busquets could play in defence for Spain

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets could play as an emergency centre-half for Spain in their World Cup 2014 qualifier in Belarus on Friday, coach Vicente Del Bosque has said.

With Gerard Pique and Carles Puyol injured, Busquets has been tried at centre-half in training this week, and Del Bosque told reporters in Minsk that the Barca player had all the attributes required to play at the back for La Roja.

"It could be that, at this moment, players are asked to play a different role than at their club and play outside their ideal position," he said.

"We think they can do it perfectly. We are not going against their characteristics."

Another selection poser for Del Bosque concerns whether to start with a traditional striker, such as Chelsea's Fernando Torres or Valencia's Roberto Soldado, or to again use Barca's Cesc Fabregas as a 'false nine'.

The coach said his selection would depend on how he expected the game to pan out, with the opposition likely to sit deep and defend for long periods.

"We think about how the game against Belarus will be," he said. "There will be players ahead of the ball, attacking. We want to take the initiative and stop their counters. We will have players to score goals."

Given their recent successes at under-age level and BATE Borisov's impressive Champions League results this season, Belarus are seen as one of Europe's most improving nations, and Del Bosque said his technical team had studied their opponents closely.

"We have watched their national side, principally, the last three games they have played," he added. "We have also paid attention to their U-21 side, which played in the European Championships.

"They have nine players from BATE, and we saw the game they played against Bayern Munich."

Del Bosque confirmed that Andres Iniesta had fully recovered from recent injury problems, but the former Real Madrid manager declined to get involved in the war of words between the Barca midfielder and Madrid defender Pepe, which began with the latter accusing Don Andres of diving during last weekend's Clasico.

"I do not know any players who act," Del Bosque said. "And I do not get involved in passing debates. Here, everyone wants to be the purest and the cleanest. We are just concentrating on Belarus."

More worrying for the coach was the news that Friday's game appears increasingly unlikely to be shown live on TV in Spain, as no broadcaster has yet met the €1 million-plus price being asked by agency Sport Five, which bought the rights from the Belarus FA.

"As far as I have been told this is not a matter regarding the RFEF (Spanish FA)," Del Bosque said.

"Football is a very attractive spectacle, and it concerns me that the people in Spain will not be able to see and follow their national team. That would leave a bad taste."

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