Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has to choose whether to start with Iker Casillas or Victor Valdes in goal.
Real Madrid goalkeeper was always coach’s first choice keeper, but missed the second part of LaLiga due to injury and Mourinho’s decision, while Valdes was regular in Barcelona. I think any decision is good enough. One players that will definitely miss the match is Real midfielder Xabi Alonso. His absence is a handicap, but don’t forget that Javi Martinez had an excellent season with Bayern Munich. Xavi and Iniesta have already accommodated with him.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has some “sweet problems”. He has three extra-ordinary strikers in Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and veteran Diego Forlan. But Tabarez has struggled to accommodate the attacking talents of the mentioned trio in the same system. The last time they were on the pitch together was last September. So, Tabarez has to send one of them to the bench. Since Cavani scored the winner against Venezuela, most probably Diego Forlan is under threat. From other point of view, Tabarez favours a formation with Forlan operating behind Suarez.
The last time Spain and Uruguay met on Brazilian soil was back at 1950, on World Cup. The game finished with 2:2 draw (09.07.1950). Uruguay won that tournament, while Spain finished fourth. But that was some 63 years ago. Now the situation is completely different. Spain won the last World Cup in South Africa and Spain won the last Euro in Poland and Ukraine. Nineteen players remain in the squad from last summer’s Euro, and 18 from the 2010 World Cup. The coach Vicente del Bosque is again leading the team and become their longest-serving head coach. In two words – class and continuity.
I expect Spain to start the campaign with a victory. The key to the success should be the midfield. Xavi, Iniesta and Javi Martinez will dominate on the pitch, no doubt about that. The only question mark is whether the squad are still hungry for trophies. If yes, nobody can stop them.