Thursday, September 4, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (September 4,2008) - A wiser more experienced Spain, under new coach Vicente del Bosque, will be keen to show it has learned from past mistakes when they host Bosnia for their opening 2010 World Cup qualifier in Murcia,Spain,on Saturday,Septemeber 6.

Former coach Luis Aragones won plaudits at home and abroad after leading Spain to victory at Euro 2008 in June, their first major title in 44 years.

But the road to Austria and Switzerland was a rocky one after they made a slow start, losing two of their first three qualifiers, which left the side under pressure to make up lost ground and heavily criticised in the local media.

"The last campaign will serve as a good experience for the games we have coming up," midfielder Marcos Senna said.

"This time round we will be different from the start. We want to give our all and forget all about Euro 2008 which was great, but is in the past now. We have to focus on the present."

Since replacing Aragones, Del Bosque has preached a message of continuity. He approaches his first competitive match at the helm with last month's 3-0 friendly victory over Denmark under his belt.

Injury has deprived him of striker Fernando Torres, who scored the winner in the Euro 2008 final against Germany, and in-form midfielder David Silva.

He has only called up Barcelona striker Bojan Krkic as a replacement, but the 18-year-old may have to wait to make his senior side debut, with Euro 2008 top scorer David Villa set to start as a lone striker against Bosnia in a 4-1-4-1 formation.

Sevilla's tricky winger Diego Capel could make the starting line-up, after debuting against Denmark -- the only major change from the Aragones era.

Spain have never won against Bosnia but only took two points off them in qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, drawing 1-1 home and away.

The Bosnian national football team coach Miroslav Blazevic is without injured captain and defender Emir Spahic, but is not overawed by the challenge.

"Regardless of the fact we are playing the European champions, I am sure we can achieve something against them. I am pleased with the determination shown by my players," he said.

The other sides in Group 5 are Armenia, Belgium, Estonia, and Turkey.

Probable teams:

Bosnia: Kenan Hasagic; Dzemal Berberovic, Ivan Radeljic, Safet Nadarevic, Dario Damjanovic, Sejad Salihovic; Zvjezdan Misimovic, Elvir Rahimic, Amir Vladavic, Samir Muratovic, Edin Dzeko.

Spain: Iker Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Raul Albiol, Joan Capdevila; Santi Cazorla, Xavi, Marcos Senna or Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Diego Capel; David Villa

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