Spain coach, Luis Enrique, provided more than one surprise when he announced his team’s semi-final before the World Cup while touring the back roads around the hills of Madrid. The team of 25 players for The League of Nations Matches included newcomer Nico Williams, the 20-year-old Athletic Bilbao winger and Borja Iglesias, the 29-year-old Real Betis striker.
Wearing a Spanish red and yellow cycling uniform, Enrique revealed the team via a pre-recorded video clip filmed while riding his bike and posted on the Spanish Twitter account. The former Barcelona player and coach, who is keeping fit at the age of 52 thanks to running and cycling, described it as “a tribute to the last Spanish cycling race”. Which ended last Sunday. The video showed the names of the selected players superimposed on the winding roads as he cycled.
The head coach couldn’t count on the many injured players who helped Spain He qualified for the semi-finals of the European Championship last summer, including strikers Gerard Moreno, Mikel Oyarzabal and Dani Olmo as well as central defender Aymeric Laporte.
The most notable absentee is Ansu Fati, who plays for limited minutes for Barcelona but is expected to be in Qatar. Also absent will be former captain Sergio Ramos, who returned to play for Paris Saint-Germain after a long absence due to injury.
In a press conference following Luis Enrique’s recent unusual announcement of the squad online, the coach said he has ruled out Ansu because he has only started one game for Barcelona this season. The coach had called up the 19-year-old striker in June. “Hopefully he can get back to his best, and maybe he will in the next 30 days,” he said. Luis Enrique He said. “We still have high expectations from Ansu.”
Striker Marco Asensio made the squad despite his lack of playing time with Real Madrid, while Valencia midfielder Hugo Guillamon was included as a defender in the squad.
Iglesias has been recalled after scoring four goals in five La Liga games for Betis this season. Williams scored his first La Liga goal in the final round with a Bilbao win – his older brother and fellow Bilbao teammate, Inaki Williams, will play Ghana at the World Cup after switching allegiance to his parents’ country.
“[Nico] “Williams has the speed and the dribbling, he’s a pure winger,” Luis Enrique said. Iglesias has “the ability to integrate well with his teammates, he has a good scoring touch, and I like the way he always plays with a smile”.
Spain host Switzerland in Zaragoza on September 24, then meet Portugal in Braga three days later in the Nations League.