Monday is the deadline for the 32 teams heading to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup to make their 23-man rosters known. However, for a select group of teams that deadline date wasn’t needed, which included reigning World Cup champion Spain.
La Furia Roja announced their 23-man roster on Sunday, and made some headlines in the process by excluding some surprise names and including some surprise names as well. Overall, 16 of the 23 players that won the World Cup for the Spaniards in 2010 return to defend the title, and as you would expect this is a much older group than the winners from last time. Spain’s average age heading in to this world cup is 27.7 years old.
So, can the 23-man roster presented to FIFA be the winning one? Let’s take a look at the roster and how it shapes up.
Biggest Surprise Exclusion: Jesus Navas
This could be a bit of a stretch as a “surprise” exclusion, because Navas appeared to be the odd man out all along. However, the Manchester City midfielder hasn’t been 100 percent healthy over the past few months and apparently that was the deciding factor—at least that’s the reason head coach Vincete Del Bosque put forth:
‘It breaks my heart to leave Navas behind,’ said Del Bosque, via The Daily Mail in the U.K. ‘But he has not been right for the past two months and I prefer to take someone who is 100 per cent.”
Biggest Surprise Inclusion: Diego Costa
Costa would’ve been a complete lock to make the roster just a month ago, but Costa injured his right thigh in the Champions League final for Atletico Madrid. He hasn’t been fit enough to train much, if at all, since then and hasn’t appeared in any of the warm up contests Spain has played to date. The 25-year-old striker is a key component to the attack of the Spanish in this World Cup and there’s no doubt that Costa will be counted on to be healthy come June 13 against the Netherlands. After all, Del Bosque did leave Navas off he roster because he wasn’t “100 percent.”
Name that will interest American fans most: David Villa
MLS will introduce a second team to New York City for the 2015 season in NYC FC, and it has it’s first signing in 32-year-old forward David Villa. The club announced the signing on Monday morning via their twitter account:
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) June 2, 2014
He scored 15 goals in all competitions this past season as a member of Atletico Madrid. He is the only member of the Spanish team to ply his trade in North America, so if you want to watch someone with an American tie on the La Furia Roja then Villa is your choice.