Naming the final 23-man squad to travel to the World Cup is always a polarising task for a football manager, one that never seems to go smoothly for any nation.
Paul Gascoigne’s omission from the 1998 party has gone down in English football folklore, while Jurgen Klinsmann’s decision not to pick Landon Donovan for his USA side in Brazil this summer caused national outrage.
Perhaps the man with the toughest task though, was Spain’s Vicente del Bosque, who had the unenviable task of whittling down his 30-man preliminary squad, glittering with star quality, to his final 23.
That decision has finally been made, with the likes of Jesus Navas, Fernando Llorente and Daniel Carvajal all suffering heat-break ahead of the big kick off in 11 days time.
For followers of the Premier League, the decision over which striker Del Bosque took, either Chelsea’s Fernando Torres and Man City’s Alvaro Negredo, would probably have been an easy one. Yet it seems the 63-year-old has made the wrong choice.
It was the blundering Blues forward that made the final cut, over the man endearingly nicknamed the beast at the Etihad Stadium, and that decision could well come back to bite the defending World Cup champions on the back side.
Torres has been a shadow of his Liverpool-self for his entire Chelsea career and played below-par at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
In fact, the World Cup warm up match with Bolivia this weekend was his first international appearance for 11 months and looked destined for a beach holiday this summer.
Negredo, on the other hand, was the country’s second top scorer during the World Cup qualifiers and adapted well to his first season in the Premier League (if perhaps going off the boil at the end), scoring nine goals to Torres’ five.
Although Spain may not use a central striker in Brazil, Negredo’s size and mobility would surely give the side a new dimension should they need to their style of play during the tournament and the inclusion of Torres is a head-scratcher to say the least.
Torres is 5/1 to be Spain’s top scorer in Rio.
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