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Four-goal Faris dreams of AFC Cup final

AFC Cup
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Torres and Silva in line for Spain starts

Euro 2012 final scorers Fernando Torres and David Silva look to set to start for Spain in Thursday's Confederations Cup semi-final rematch against Italy, with Roberto Soldado and Cesc Fabregas still battling muscle injuries.

• Bennett: Spain soldier on
• Bennett: Italy up next

Silva opened the scoring in last year's European Championship decider, with Torres arriving from the bench to notch his side's third goal and take the tournament's golden boot.

The Chelsea striker is on course to take that prize again at this summer's competition in Brazil, having scored his fifth goal in three games moments after replacing Soldado in Sunday's 3-0 final group game win over Nigeria.

Silva, who took Fabregas' place when the Barcelona midfielder limped off early against the Nigerians, is tipped to start against the Azzurri on Thursday, although Juan Mata and Jesus Navas are also options for Spain coach Vicente del Bosque to consider.

The two injured players undertook specific recovery work under the eye of physio Hugo Camarero at the squad's training session on Tuesday evening, and were making progress according to the injury bulletin subsequently released by the Royal Spanish Football Federation.

"Soldado and Cesc, who [on Monday] did not take to the grass because they had a physio session, [on Tuesday] underwent individual recovery treatments," the statement read. "The evolution of their muscle problems has been satisfactory."

Iker Casillas trained apart from the other goalkeepers at the session, which took place at Fortaleza's university campus, but previous comments from the Spanish coach that the Real Madrid man remains "the most first-choice" of his three 'keepers suggests Casillas will start ahead of Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina in Thursday's game at the Estadio Castelao.

The indications are that Bayern Munich's Javi Martinez, who had been tipped to take the place of the absent Xabi Alonso - in the midfield 'double pivot' - previously favoured by Del Bosque, will again be on the bench. The veteran coach has denied that this tactical decision has anything to do with Xavi Hernandez's reported preference to play in a deeper position.

 

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