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Football | Spain

Victor Valdes © Action Images

Del Bosque to ring the changes in friendly

Vicente del Bosque is planning to give some of his reserves a run-out in Tuesday's friendly against Chile in Geneva to assess whether they should be part of the squad for next year's World Cup.

Captain and goalkeeper Iker Casillas, who played in Friday's 2-0 qualification Group I win in Finland, will make way and Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina will both get their chance, Del Bosque told a news conference.

He did not specify who else might feature, but the likes of defenders Ignacio Monreal and Ignacio Fernandez, midfielder Javi Garcia and forward Roberto Soldado will be hoping for an opportunity to impress.

"We are going to ring all the changes," Del Bosque said.

"We will have the chance to allow some players to increase their number of appearances so we can also observe them," he added.

"We have a very large squad that can respond to any problem. We have people who have given us a great deal and youngsters pressing for a place."

Spain travelled with 21 players to Switzerland earlier on Monday after Isco and David Villa withdrew from the squad with minor knocks.

They come into the match having moved to the brink of securing a berth at next year's World Cup finals in Brazil thanks to their comfortable victory in Helsinki.

Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli, whose side's 3-0 success at home to Venezuela last week means they are third in South American qualifying, said his team would try to dominate possession in the same way they managed in the first half of the last meeting between the two sides.

Chile were 2-0 ahead at the break in a friendly in September 2011, also played in Switzerland, but a goal from Andres Iniesta shortly after halftime followed by a Cesc Fabregas double secured a 3-2 victory for the world and European champions.

"We will attempt to control the game but with these kinds of teams it is much harder than what we are used to in South America," Sampaoli said on the Chile soccer association website (www.anfp.cl) on Monday.

Chile should not expect an easier ride just because Spain had key players including Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso missing through injury and Del Bosque was likely to rest some of his key performers, he added.

"Spain has a very large, very rich squad. They have a squad which allows them to select players of an extremely high level.

"I don't think (the absences) will force Spain to modify their structure too much because the players play for the best clubs in the world's best leagues."

Fabregas, who has been in fine form for club and country, said he and his teammates were expecting a stern test.

"They are real warriors, always pushing forward with a lot of running," he told a news conference.

"If you let them play, apart from being very competitive they have a lot of talent," added the Barcelona playmaker. "The main thing will be to go out there and compete."


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