Spain forward Fernando Torres was on the outside looking in as his compatriots made a winning start to their FIFA Confederations Cup campaign against Uruguay, but the Chelsea forward says he intends to give coach Vicente del Bosque a selection dilemma if he can get some game time for the world champions against minnows Tahiti today.
Torres has found himself relegated to the status of a squad player since Euro 2012, when Del Bosque decided he wanted to try to dispense with a designated centerforward, but has accepted his fate knowing that he still scored three goals from the bench in Poland and Ukraine as the Furia Roja became the first country to land three consecutive major senior tournaments.
“I just hope I do get the chance to impress coach Del Bosque, so that I can give him a bit of a selection dilemma,” Torres told Onda Cero radio. “I thought we played really well against Uruguay and I think it is certainly very difficult for any side to play against us.”
“We always want to win, of course, but we want to do so with style,” said Torres, who is aiming help Spain land a first Confederations Cup title after their shock loss to the US in the 2009 semi-final.
Del Bosque is likely to ring the changes for today’s game, meaning that Torres’ chances of starting are good, despite the fine form of both Pedro Rodriguez, 11 goals for his country this season, and fellow scorer against Uruguay Roberto Soldado.
“Of course we are clear favorites, but you still have to turn up and do the job, and we must respect Tahiti,” Pedro said. “We will try to play our game and keep on winning.”
Del Bosque has acknowledged he would like to see Spain kill off games and be more ruthless, having seen Uruguay come back and pinch a late goal in a game in which they should have been dead and buried by halftime.
Against amateur rivals Spain have the chance to show they are about much more than pretty passing patterns and fluid movement.
Spain have earned widespread praise in host country Brazil for their showing against Uruguay and former Brazil star Roberto Rivelino lauded Andres Iniesta in particular.
“Iniesta is different, he is a Brazilian,” Rivelino said.
Pedro, who says he feels that “the first half against Uruguay is the best I have seen us play,” agreed.
“He [Iniesta] is a real pleasure to play with,” the 25-year-old said.
Meanwhile, Del Bosque insisted that his decision to field goalkeeper Iker Casillas against Uruguay was not down to favoritism after the Real Madrid custodian endured a miserable second half of the season, owing first to a hand injury and then to his being left out even when fit again by then-Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.
“It is nothing to do with favoritism or personal issues, but all to do with sporting criteria. There are certain details which speak in favor of plumping for him,” Del Bosque told Spanish media, though he conceded that he might give a run out to either Pepe Reina or Victor Valdes against Tahiti.
Tahiti coach Eddy Etaeta said that he hoped his amateurs would have learned something from their six-goal hiding at the hands of Nigeria, and would stand up and be counted against Spain in what ought to be one of the biggest mismatches in recent memory.
“When you see Spain’s great performance [against Uruguay], you can start getting worried. Tactically, we’ll have to play better and from a physical perspective, we’ll need to compete more strongly in the duels, but we’ll recuperate, analyze our performance tonight [Monday] and then think of Spain. We said that scoring a goal in this tournament would be exceptional, but scoring against Spain would be grandiose.”