Aragonés springs selection surprises
A confident Luis Aragonés believes Spain have what it takes to win UEFA EURO 2008™ after naming his final 23-man squad with the uncapped Santiago Cazorla and Sergio García the surprise inclusions, although there is no place for Raúl González.
Focus on form
Real Zaragoza forward García has scored just four league goals this season while Cazorla has been a key figure in the midfield of a Villarreal CF side who will finish 2007/08 as Primera División runners-up, and Aragonés acknowledged the importance he had placed on form in selecting his squad. "I have chosen the players in relation to how they have performed over many games," he said. "I'm the one, for better or worse, who has to choose and I have chosen." While García has made 36 league appearances for Zaragoza, Cazorla has managed five goals in 34 Primera División games.
Raúl left out
Raúl, however, has missed out despite scoring 18 goals in Real Madrid CF's title-winning campaign having earned the last of his 102 caps – which have brought 44 goals – in the 3-2 qualifying defeat by Northern Ireland in September 2006. "It's not a question of how many goals a player has scored or how well their club has played because there are other players who have done similar things [to Raúl] who aren't coming," added Aragonés, who has also left out Valencia CF pair David Albelda and Joaquín Sánchez.
Spain will face familiar foes Russia, Sweden and Greece in Group D in Austria and Switzerland this summer, and Aragonés joked that qualifying for the quarter-finals should not present a problem for his team. "Sure, it's going to be easy for us; all we have to do is to beat Sweden who historically have better results than us, down Greece who are the reigning champions and then Russia and all that will be easy," said the Spain coach, before adding a serious point. "I'm no fortune teller but the message I want to put across is that we are capable of winning."
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid CF), Pepe Reina (Liverpool FC), Andrés Palop (Sevilla FC).
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid CF), Álvaro Arbeloa (Liverpool FC), Carles Puyol (FC Barcelona), Carlos Marchena (Valencia CF), Raúl Albiol (Valencia CF), Juanito (Real Betis Balompié), Joan Capdevilla (Villarreal CF), Fernando Navarro (RCD Mallorca).
Midfielders: Marcos Senna (Villarreal CF), Xabi Alonso (Liverpool FC), Xavi Hernández (FC Barcelona), Cesc Fábregas (Arsenal FC), Andrés Iniesta (FC Barcelona), Rubén De la Red (Getafe CF), David Silva (Valencia CF), Santiago Cazorla (Villarreal CF).
Forwards: David Villa (Valencia CF), Daniel Güiza (RCD Mallorca), Sergio García (Real Zaragoza), Fernando Torres (Liverpool FC).