Xavi Hernández

Xavi Hernández / PHOTO: LUCAS DUARTE - FCB

The World Cup kicks off this Thursday in Brazil, and the inaugural game is between the host nation and Croatia. Neymar Jr, Dani Alves and their teammates are the first to get the ball rolling in São Paulo, and it will be Spain’s turn on Friday. The team managed by Vicente del Bosque travelled this Thursday to Salvador de Bahía, where they will make their debut against the Netherlands.

Xavi evaluates Spain’s readiness

Xavi Hernández held a press conference along with captain Iker Casillas this Wednesday ahead of Spain’s opener against the Netherlands on Friday. The midfielder started off by weighing in on the headlines that hit the press earlier this morning, specifically the news of Cesc Fàbregas’ transfer from FC Barcelona to Chelsea. “It’s great news for him, it’s a good opportunity; they are a great team. But it’s clear that Barça have lost a good player,” said the blaugrana vice-captain.

In addition, Xavi talked about Spain’s readiness ahead of tomorrow’s opener: “We’re coming into the match with the knowledge that we have a very difficult group. Making a World Cup debut against the runners up of the previous edition isn’t easy.” Spain will play its first match against the Netherlands, the team managed by Louis van Gaal, the manager coincidentally gave Xavi his debut for FC Barcelona’s first team. “I have good memories from that year, and I have a special appreciation for him (Van Gaal). He was always honest and he treated me well,” said the midfielder.

Iniesta praises Messi

In an interview with the Argentine daily Ole Andrés Iniesta praised his club teammate Lionel Messi. “For me he’s the best player in the world, regardless of what happens in the World Cup.” The midfielder added: “Argentina’s role isn’t solely dependent on Messi’s performance.”

Alexis Sánchez also talked to the press about Chile’s World Cup opener this Wednesday. “I think Chile can with the World Cup. If I didn’t think so I would be watching the tournament from my couch at home,” he declared. Chile and Spain will face off in the second match day of the group stage. When asked about the match against the Iberian nation, Alexis said: “It’s good that they respect us, they are the champions and it’s good news if we can get out of the group stage in second place.”

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