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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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By ESPN Staff

Barca duo absent from Spain squad

MADRID, Aug 14 (Reuters) - Barcelona players Carles Puyol and Xavi will miss Spain's friendly international against Iceland on Tuesday because of minor injuries picked up on the club's recent tour of the United States.

Midfielder Xavi has been suffering from muscle pain, while centre back Puyol has a bruised back.

Both players remained in Spain on Monday after undergoing a medical examination by national team doctor Genaro Borras while the rest of the team left for Iceland.

They are also doubtful for Barcelona's opening fixture of the season against Espanyol in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup on Thursday.

Spanish media reported that coach Luis Aragones would not call up any replacements for the match in Reykjavik.

Xavi's absence means that Celta Vigo midfielder Borja Oubina is likely to get a chance to make his debut after being drafted into the squad for the first time.

The Iceland match will be Spain's first game since their exit from the World Cup at the hands of France during the first knockout round.

Spain will also meet Iceland in Euro 2008 qualifying in March and September of next year.

They open their campaign with games against Liechtenstein and Northern Ireland at the start of September. Denmark, Sweden and Latvia are their other opponents in Group F.