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Balotelli on compassionate leave

Liverpool
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Spain drops Fernando Torres

MADRID -- Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has left out Fernando Torres from his squad for two World Cup qualifiers, including the critical match against France.

Del Bosque says "Torres had been a regular until recently, his inconsistency worries us."

Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea takes the place of injured captain Iker Casillas, while Barcelona midfielder Xavi Hernandez makes the 24-man squad despite nursing a leg injury.

Spain hosts Finland in Gijon on March 22 and then plays France in Paris four days later.

Spain and France are tied with seven points each at the top of Group I. Georgia has four points, Belarus three, and Finland one.

Complete list:

Goalkeepers: Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Pepe Reina (Liverpool/ING) and David de Gea (Manchester United/ING)

Defense: Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa, Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/ING) and Ignacio Monreal (Arsenal/ING).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal/ING), Javi Garcia (Manchester City/ING), Jesus Navas (Sevilla) and 'Isco' Alarcon (Málaga).

Forwards: David Silva (Manchester City/ING), Pedro Rodriguez, David Villa (Barcelona), Juan Manuel Mata (Chelsea/ING) and Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla).

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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