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World champs begin new quest at tiny Liechtenstein
by Paul Kennedy, September 1st, 2010 10:11PM

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TAGS:  european championship, spain


[SPAIN] Less than two months after winning the World Cup, Spain begins a new challenge Friday when it opens Euro 2012 qualifying at Liechtenstein, a country whose population is less than half the number of fans that watched Coach Vicente Del Bosque's team win the final over the Netherlands in overtime.

For Spain's first competitive match since South Africa '10, Del Bosque has made only modest changes to his team.

Barcelona center back Carles Puyol is out with an injury, and he's been replaced in the squad by Osasuna defender Ignacio Monreal.

Carlos Marchena, recently transferred from Valencia to Villarreal, should replace Puyol alongside Gerard Pique in the Spanish defense.

In the only other change from the lineup in the World Cup final, Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente could be preferred to Pedro up front.

Del Bosque hopes to give Fernando Torres some playing time, but his English club, Liverpool, has asked that he not play.

"The reports are good on Torres," said Del Bosque. "He has played a part in their last two games and we don't have any news to say he isn't well."

Liechtenstein, which has scored only three goals in the last two years, is given no chance, but the Spaniards aren't going to be overconfident.

"It would be an error to think everything is going to be much easier now we are world champions," defender Sergio Ramos said. "We have to have our ideas clearer than ever and we start from zero again because soccer has no memory."

EURO 2010 QUALIFYING (on the air Friday)
FOX SOCCER CHANNEL
ENGLAND-BULGARIA (live) 3 pm.

FOX SPORTS EN ESPANOL

ENGLAND-BULGARIA (live) 3 pm.

ESPN3.com
ARMENIA-IRELAND (live) 11 am.
KAZAKHSTAN-TURKEY (live) noon.
ANDORRA-RUSSIA (live) 12:30 pm.
FAROE ISLANDS-ITALY (live) 2:30 pm.
ESTONIA-ITALY (live) 2:30 pm.
SLOVENIA-NORTHERN IRELAND (live) 2:30 pm.
BELGIUM-GERMANY (live) 2:30 pm.
GREECE-GEORGIA (live) 2:30 pm.
SAN MARINO-NETHERLANDS (live) 2:30 pm.
LIECHTENSTEIN-SPAIN (live) 2:30 pm.
FRANCE-BELARUS (live) 2:30 pm.
PORTUGAL-CYPRUS (live) 2:30 pm.



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