Friendly international: South Africa v Spain preview
Spain's friendly with South Africa sees Vicente del Bosque's side return to the scene of their World Cup success.
Last Updated: 18/11/13 3:25pm
Spain's friendly meeting with South Africa sees Vicente del Bosque's side return to the Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg for the first time since they won the World Cup there more than three years ago.
The match comes three days after a sluggish 2-1 win over Equatorial Guinea in Malabo, in which Del Bosque fielded a starting line-up largely consisting of the less experienced players in his squad, including youngsters Alberto Moreno, Koke and Marc Bartra, who made his international debut.
The veteran coach is expected to rotate his team considerably against South Africa, allowing many of the players who were involved in the final triumph over Holland - the likes of Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta - to take to the Soccer City turf again.
One possible exception is Xabi Alonso, who started in Malabo due to an injury to Javi Martinez, but was forced to withdraw from the match before half-time after receiving a knock to his ankle.
Del Bosque has explained that Martinez is now fully fit and the Bayern Munich player is now likely to start ahead of his Real Madrid counterpart.
With Germany and Italy, their rivals for the upcoming World Cup, using the international break to test their quality against various heavyweights, Spain's long journeys to face two teams that will not be at next summer's tournament in Brazil have raised eyebrows.
But Ramos insists the squad are pleased to return to the place where they made history in July 2010.
"This trip to South Africa is our way of saying thanks to this country for being so kind to us," he told a press conference.
"It's more convenient to travel around Europe but there are countries in the world that have the right to enjoy seeing the world champions in action, whether that's in a match or a training session."
This is the fourth time Spain will have played Bafana Bafana, and thus far they have never lost to them.
The last time the two sides met was in the 2009 Confederations Cup third-place play-off, a game in which Spain required extra-time to edge a 3-2 win.
And Real Madrid defender Ramos dismissed the suggestion this game would be a walkover.
"Every team that we meet wants to play as well as possible because beating the world champions is so significant," he added.
"South Africa have quality and a strong team and we hope everyone will see a great spectacle."
Gordon Igesund has been with South Africa for little over a year and in the wake of the nation's failure to reach the World Cup finals, the 57-year-old is eager to breed continuity in the team ahead of the African Nations Cup.
The multiple league title winning coach praised counterpart Del Bosque, who recently extended his contract by two years, for his achievements in the Spanish hot seat.
Igesund told iol.co.za: "I always feel it's good to have continuity. Because, for example, in the last 18 months we have created an identity for South African football which we never had before.
"We are playing a style of football that the players are getting accustomed to and enjoying. And the people are enjoying it too. That's continuity and we need to keep that going now.
"It's fantastic that their coach (Del Bosque) has been given a contract. He's one of the best coaches in the world. He has done a fantastic job and he deserves everything he is getting.
"He is world champion and European champion. Good luck to him. We will see what happens here."