[WORLD CUP 2014 COUNTDOWN]Few teams have competition for spots on their World Cup squad like defending champion Spain, which omitted such stars as Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, former captain Carles Puyol and all-time leading scorer David Villa from the team that will face Italy Wednesday in a friendly in Madrid.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque called in former Brazilian international Diego Costa of Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara, the son of former Brazilian star Mazinho.
“There are more than two important players who are left out,” Del Bosque said of the list from which the likes of Alvaro Arbeloa and Fernando Llorente are also missing. “But this list is just for Italy. There is time in front of us, three months of competition, and many things could happen that ratify this list or make us bring others.”
Costa's decision to switch allegiances -- he played two friendlies for Brazil -- jumps him ahead of Torres and Villa.
“I have not spoken to him (recently) but the federation have called him to make sure he was still thinking the same,” Del Bosque said. “This list is not final for Brazil. It is a unique case because he had never come with us before, and for him being born in Brazil. But he is a player who comes because of what he has done for his club. We have decided he can help us.”
Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez come from Bayern Munich, which is again running away with the German title.
“We cannot consider Thiago a new arrival," Del Bosque said. "He is playing very well for Bayern Munich. They are one of best teams in Europe and he is a starter there. Javi Martinez can play in two positions. We can use him as a central midfielder or a center half.”
GOALKEEPERS:Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli/ITA), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).
DEFENDERS:Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich/GER), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea/ENG), Raul Albiol (Napoli/ITA).
MIDFIELDERS:Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona) Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich/GER), Jesus Navas (Man. City/ENG), David Silva (Man. City/ENG), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal/ENG).
FORWARDS:Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo (Man. City/ENG), Pedro (Barcelona).