France faces young talented Spanish team
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In a friendly fixture, France faces a Spanish team where the coach has decided to let some experienced players aside so as to give a chance to some young stars. French coach, Raymond Domenech, chooses to mix generations.
Spain host France in a pre-Euro
2008 friendly on Wednesday with the eyes of home fans on two
players who may not even go to the tournament, Barcelona prodigy
Bojan Krkic and Valencia outcast David Albelda.
Bojan is in the headlines because at 17 years and five
months he will become the youngest player to win a cap for Spain
if he is given a run-out against the World Cup finalists,
beating the previous record set by Angel Zubieta in 1936.
Coach Luis Aragones has acknowledged he has given Bojan a
premature call-up in order to forestall a possible move from his
father's country Serbia and not because he is one of the
favourites to go to Euro 2008.
Midfielder Albelda was another surprise inclusion given that
he has not played for Valencia since mid December and club coach
Ronald Koeman has said he will not feature for the side again
Albelda, who has been Aragones's preferred option when he
wants to play a more aggressive, defensive formation in
midfield, will have to do something special if he is to prove he
should go to the tournament without any games under his belt.
Spain ended their Euro 2008 qualification campaign in style
to top their group ahead of Sweden and are unbeaten in 12 games,
but Wednesday's match will bring back bitter memories of their
defeat against France in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Aragones's side were outsmarted by their opponents as they
went down 3-1 in Hanover in 2006 and Spain have a poor record
against their neighbours, winning just one of the last 10
meetings between the two sides.
The friendly takes on greater significance because the two
teams are on the same side of the draw at Euro 2008 and could
meet in the second round in Austria and Switzerland.
France coach Raymond Domenech is keeping his cards close to
his chest after naming an expanded 37-man squad for both
Wednesday's match and a friendly between his B team and the
Democratic Republic of Congo the day before in Marbella.
There are four newcomers in the squad in young goalkeepers
Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda, Arsenal defender Gael Clichy and
Monaco forward Jeremy Menez, but exactly who will play against
Spain is anyone's guess.
Even without Juventus striker David Trezeguet, who was
overlooked once again, Domenech has plenty of choice up front
with Thierry Henry, new Chelsea signing Nicolas Anelka and
Lyon's 20-year-old striker Karim Benzema, the Ligue 1's top
scorer with 15 goals, all in the squad.
Forward Frank Ribery will miss the match after injuring his
left thigh while playing for Bayern Munich.
Spain: Iker Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Carlos Marchena,
Juanito, Joan Capdevila; Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, David
Albelda, Xavi; David Villa, Fernando Torres.
France: Mickael Landreau; Willy Sagnol, Lilian Thuram,
William Gallas, Eric Abidal; Lassana Diarra, Claude Makelele,
Jerome Rothen, Hatem Ben Arfa; Nicolas Anelka, Thierry Henry.
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