Iniesta fit to start
Andres Iniesta has shaken off his injury to be in contention to start Spain's decider against Chile on Friday.
By Mike Barton
Last Updated: 23/06/10 6:20pm
Andres Iniesta has shaken off his injury to be in contention to start Spain's crucial Group H decider against Chile on Friday.
The Spanish side started the tournament as World Cup favourites but a shock defeat to Switzerland in their opening game has seen them needing victory over the Chileans so secure qualification.
Iniesta missed out on their 2-0 victory over Honduras, with coach Vicente del Bosque coming in for criticism from former coach Luis Aragones for adopting a more defensive approach than the one that he presided over in their triumphant European Championship campaign in 2008.
Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso started the game over the likes of Cesc Fabregas and David Silva in midfield, with Xavi taking a more advanced role.
Iniesta's recovery however should result in a more attacking formation should he start, with the Barcelona playmaker likely to take the place of Jesus Navas, who started on the right in the victory over Honduras.
The 26-year-old's reputation as one of the best midfielders in the world will come as a welcome boost to the Spanish, and Iniesta is raring to go.
"I trained well and felt quite good yesterday and could do everything as normal," he said.
"The feelings are good and above all I hope to be available and hope to be at 100 per cent so I can help the team, although the question of being in the starting line-up is obviously one for the coach."
Some of the Spanish side have been linked with moves away from their respective clubs, with Liverpool striker Fernando Torres and Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas both the subject of intense speculation regarding their future.
Valencia winger Juan Mata is the latest in the camp to be surrounded by transfer rumours, with Barcelona reportedly chasing the player.
But team-mate at the Mestalla Carlos Marchena believes the rumours to be distracting the players, stating that they should be dealt with and discussed once the tournament is over.
"I don't think it's ideal because when we are with the national team you have to focus," said Marchena.
"We have a very big opportunity being here at this World Cup but at the same time the (transfer) market is there.
"We have to deal with it, which is not ideal, but up to a certain point, it's normal."