Julen Lopetegui names five from FC Barcelona in Spain squad
Piqué, Busquets, Iniesta, Alba and Deulofeu all feature in side that faces a crunch game with Italy followed by theoretically routine trip to Liechtenstein
Gerard Piqué, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Jordi Alba and Gerard Deulofeu have been selected by Spain manager Julen Lopetegui for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Italy and Liechtenstein.
The game against the Italians at the Santiago Bernabéu on September 2 is a head-to-head between two teams that are directly vying for top spot and a direct passage to Russia next summer. Both sides are currently locked on 16 points at the top of Group G.
One of the biggest talking points was the recall of David Villa to the national team. The former Barça striker is currently playing for New York City in MLS.
Other international call-ups
Leo Messi and Javier Mascherano are in the Argentina side that has a crucial game at the home of direct rivals Uruguay followed by a home tie against Venezuela. Luis Suárez, despite fitness concerns, is travelling to South America for Uruguay's two games.
Paulinho is back for Brazil, the only team that has already clinched mathematical qualification for next summer’s 32-team finals.
Lucas Digne and Samuel Umtiti are part of Didier Deschamps’ plans for France’s games with Holland and Luxembourg in a very tight Group A - the game with the Dutch being a high-pressure humdinger with Sweden currently leading the group. Jasper Cillessen is in the Holland squad.
Marc-André ter Stegen is in the Germany team that will be looking to maintain its 100% record in Group C in games against Norway and the Czech Republic.
Croatia and Ivan Rakitić face Kosovo and Turkey in a group where just two points separate the top four teams,
André Gomes has been picked by Fernando Santos for Portugal’s games with the Faroe Islands and Hungary, with the European champions currently trailing Switzerland in Group B.
And finally, Thomas Vermaelen will be in the Belgium squad for games with Greece and Gibraltar. Win those two games and the Red Devils will have qualification virtually secured, or even definitively if other results go their way.