After the Bolivia friendly in Sevilla, which finished with a 2-0 win with Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta goals, Vicente Del Bosque, the Spanish national team manager, confirmed that Jesus Navas, Manchester City and La Roja's speedy winger, would miss the last cut. When Del Bosque made the piece of news official, he was clearly heartbroken.
Sixteen of the 23 players that won the World Cup four years ago made the final list, while there are only five changes to the team that conquered the EURO in Poland and Ukraine: Koke and Diego Costa, represent the change, Cesar Azpilicueta takes Alvaro Arbeloa's spot, David Villa returns after being left out in that occasion due to injury, and David de Gea takes the spot for the injured Victor Valdes.
The general perception attributed to this Spanish generation is that its end is nearing. It is nearing because if FC Barcelona players which have an influence on the national team like Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Xavi Hernandez, Iniesta, and Pedro Rodriguez finished this season with no important titles and playing a football below the expectations it once generated, at one point, it will hurt the national team that won it all.
Del Bosque has been prudent all along, never overexciting, always maintaining calm awareness like few coaches have ever shown. A masterful class, which in the end, should take the weight off the 23 footballers representing Spain in Brazil, “if the coach is always calm, why can't we calm.”
“I was scared the injury could be something else. I appreciate the trust the coach has given me and will give my all for him believing in me. I want this call-up to end up being worth something,” said a jubilant Costa Monday morning as he arrived to La Roja's training grounds at Las Rozas.
When it came down to take off the final list Navas's name, a player that was fundamental in the 2010 World Cup, 2012 EURO, and 2013 Confecup, Del Bosque believed it was risky to take a player that had not played in the last two months with his club. He needed 23 footballers who had been playing important minutes in the last month. Costa's call-up is an exception because it is unlikely he will play in Washington DC next Saturday against El Salvador.
But Costa's call-up represents that breath of fresh air that should revitalize a team that plays out of memory, but needs to maximize other areas of the game that perhaps La Roja has not been able to maximize like set pieces. Players like Koke, Costa, and even the Real Madrid hero, Sergio Ramos, win a lot of power with new ways to explode La Roja's privileged touch.
The Spanish national team is scheduled to hold a meeting with president Barack Obama during its DC stay. Del Bosque picked DC instead of Miami because he wanted to be able to train in a city where he knew his squad was going to be able to train in grass fields, not turf ones like it was the case last summer in Miami, when La Roja, because of rain, had no other choice but to train in the Miami Dolphins' indoor facilities.