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Alba and Xavi PHOTO: CARMELO RUBIO

This Friday, Vicente Del Bosque has named his squad for the two forthcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers against Finland and France. As usual, FC Barcelona is the most represented club, this time with no fewer than nine members of the squad, namely Valdés, Piqué, Alba, Sergio, Iniesta, Cesc, Pedro, Villa and Xavi. The latter was named although he is currently suffering from a hamstring injury that means he will be sitting out the clash with Rayo on Sunday night.

Games on March 22 and 26

Both Spain’s games are World Cup qualifiers. The first on Friday 22 in Gijón is against Finland, who are currently bottom of the five-team group with just one point (Georgia are third with four, and Belarus are fourth with three). The second encounter, on Tuesday 26 in Paris, is absolutely crucial for the defending champions. After being held 1-1 at the Vicente Calderón, Spain will need a good result against the French in order to stay in contention for the top spot, which ensures direct qualification for Brazil 2014. The two teams are presently tied at the top of the group with seven points each.

Meanwhile, Javier Mascherano and Leo Messi have both been called up for international duty too. Argentina, currently top of the South American qualification zone, have games against Venezuela and Bolivia.

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