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May 13, 2014

Torres, Mata in provisional Spain squad

ESPN FC's Janusz Michallik discusses what he expects from Spain at the World Cup and what players might get the short end of the stick.

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque has put off making his most difficult squad selection decisions ahead of the upcoming World Cup by including all of Fernando Torres, Fernando Llorente, David Villa, Alvaro Negredo, Santi Cazorla and Juan Mata in his provisional squad list announced on Tuesday.

Real Madrid full-back Alvaro Arbeloa is the biggest name left out of the 30-man list, with his uncapped teammate Dani Carvajal being called up instead.

With Brazil-born Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa thought to be certain of a place in the final squad, at least two of Villa, Torres, Negredo and Llorente are likely to miss out when Del Bosque names his final 23-man list for the tournament on May 25, the day after the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in Lisbon.

Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara is included in the provisional list having returned to fitness, which means one of Manchester United's Mata or Arsenal's Cazorla could be disappointed when the final squad is confirmed.

"The one for Brazil could be my last train to catch to play a World Cup," Cazorla told Marca. "I still feel bad about missing the one in South Africa due to a back injury.

"To have played in a World Cup is not something which many players can say, I am confident of being able to do so. I hope that the boss, as he has done up to now, gives me his confidence. I hope we can keep making history, that is what this group wants."

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea as expected is calledup and will go to Brazil given the injury to Barcelona's Victor Valdes. Arsenal's Nacho Monreal is left out of the 30-man list, with Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta and Atletico Madrid's Juanfran Torres included.

Athletic Bilbao's Ander Iturraspe included as acknowledgement of an excellent club season, but is not expected to make the final list. Others who have been capped this season and might be disappointed at missing out include Madrid youngster Isco and centre-halves Marc Bartra [Barcelona] and Inigo Martinez [Real Sociedad].

Roberto Soldado was another notable omission. The striker joined Tottenham Hotspur from Valencia last August for 26 million pounds but, like many of his fellow summer arrivals at White Hart Lane, struggled to settle in his first season at the North London club.

A return of just six league goals, with just one scored since the turn of the year, has seen Soldado lose out on a place in next month's tournament in Brazil.

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