Spain showed why it is one of the favorites to win the World Cup when it tied Germany, 1-1, in an exciting friendly played in Dusseldorf and demolished Argentina, 6-1, in Madrid.
world-class save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied Spaniard Isco against Germany, but he scored a hat trick against Argentina.
The 25-year-old Isco has emerged as the go-to
attacker for Spain under Julen Lopetegui, who had him with the U-21s before he succeeded Vicente del Bosque as the national team coach in 2016.
La Roja is going to the World
Cup thanks to a 3-0 win over Italy in the deciding Group G match in which Isco scored a pair of goals, the first on a free kick.
But Isco is no longer an automatic choice of Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid, where he has started just six of 14 La Liga games
in 2018 and played just nine minutes off the bench in the second leg of the series sweep against Paris St. Germain in the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League.
Since Zidane has
adjusted his midfield, going with four across the middle and starting Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez out wide, Isco, used to starting as the tip of the midfield diamond, has been the
odd-man out. Isco did not dress in the 3-0 win at Las Palmas on Saturday and is not assured of starting when Real Madrid faces Juventus in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals on
Asked about Isco's situation on Monday, Zidane said, "For me, there are no first choice players or substitutes. I have 25 very good players and I am going to use all of them.
There are moments when some play more than others. All of them are important, and Isco is just as important as the rest. It may be different with the national team -- they'll have seven or eight games
a season while we have 60."
Lopetegui has tried to stay out of the debate about Isco's situation at Real Madrid.
"Isco is an important player for the national team," he told
Radio Marca between the two friendlies. "It's important that he performs, but I won't judge a colleague."
But the Spain coach is clear about what he thinks of his star.
one thing to have talent," Lopetegui said the 3-0 win over Italy, "but another to be a great player. Isco is in the second category regardless of the talent he has."