Achilles problem rules Xavi out of Spain qualifiers
Barcelona midfielder Xavi has been left out of Spain's squad for next month's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Lithuania and Scotland because of an Achilles tendon problem.
Coach Vicente Del Bosque has decided not to risk Xavi for the double header while Real Madrid defender Raul Albiol (ankle) also misses out along with Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, who suffered a hamstring injury at Sunderland 12 days ago which was expected to sideline him for up to three weeks.
The world and European champions take on Lithuania in Del Bosque's home town, Salamanca, on October 8 and then travel to Glasgow to take on the Scots four days later.
"We have two big games, which are both extremely dangerous,'' he said. "This is a wake-up call for us. They are two very difficult games.''
Scotland and Lithuania lead the way in Group I having each collected four points from two games, with Spain a point behind having only played one - a 4-0 win in Liechtenstein on September 3.
"The two rivals are ahead of us in the standings, and both are important games in order to achieve qualification for Ukraine and Poland,'' he continued. "To underestimate them would be dangerous. These are teams that have proven to be difficult and complicated.
"Lithuania are a well-organised team which leave no spaces and has competitive players. Scotland, playing at home, will be difficult. We cannot make the slightest mistake. We are prepared for difficult games.''
Spain squad: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Victor Valdes (Barcelona), Jose Reina (Liverpool); Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Carlos Marchena (Villarreal), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Nacho Monreal (Osasuna); Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Villarreal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona); Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), David Villa (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (Liverpool).