Spain coach Vicente del Bosque will have to choose between Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas to face Germany in tonight’s World Cup semi-final.
Fabregas has been declared fit following a knock in training leaving Del Bosque needing to decide whether to stick with Liverpool striker Torres, yet to score in this World Cup, or give Fabregas his first start.
The 23-year-old Arsenal midfielder had put himself in the frame after Spain improved dramatically in the quarter-final against Paraguay when he replaced Torres.
Spain managed 15 shots against Paraguay with 11 of these, and the four on-target efforts, coming in the 34 minutes after Fabregas came on.
Del Bosque said: “He has trained well. We were quite worried on Monday because he took a hit in the same place as his injury but he is available to play.”
The slight uncertainty may just persuade Del Bosque to keep faith with Torres, the man whose goal against the same opponents in the final of Euro 2008 gave Spain’s multi-talented side their greatest success so far in football.
Torres himself said: “No player is assured of a place in the starting XI. A player has to give 100% in his fight for a place in the team. But if he isn’t given the nod by the boss, then he has to cheer on the side from the sidelines.
“If I score against Germany and it takes us to the final that would be unbelievable.
“I hope history can be repeated but above all, that the team wins.
“We have done well in our last games against them but this German team is much better than the previous sides we have faced.”
Spain have never reached even the semi-finals of the World Cup, although they did make a final group of four in 1950 which eventually determined the winner.
Torres insisted that it was important the team did not believe their job is already done.
He added: “I don’t just settle for being in the semi-finals, I want more.
“Of course it’s a success for us as this is the first time our nation has achieved this but we are aware that we may never get this chance again. We have the right to dream and to play a wonderful game against Germany.
“We want to make sure that people will still be talking about this Spain team in two years’ time or even longer.”