Groin strain forces Villa out of World Cup qualifier for Spain

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Madrid, Sep 4 (IANS) Spain’s veteran striker David Villa has suffered a training injury, forcing him to miss Tuesday’s World Cup qualifying game away to Liechtenstein, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed.

“It has been decided that the player abandons the squad and does not travel to Liechtenstein,” said the RFEF after Villa suffered a groin strain in training on Sunday, reports Xinhua news agency.

The 35-year-old had been a surprise inclusion in Julen Lopetegui’s squad for the World Cup qualifying games against Italy and Liechtenstein, returning to the international scene for the first time since the 2014 World Cup finals.

As Spain’s all-time record goalscorer with 59 goals in 98 matches for his country, Villa replaced Isco in the 89th minute of Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win at home to Italy, which virtually assured Spain of their qualification from the group stage.

Isco scored twice in an excellent performance for Spain in the Santiago Bernabeu and looks certain to start on Tuesday as the Spanish team look to take another step towards Russia.

Lopetegui may make some changes elsewhere in his squad with Kepa Arizabalaga making his international debut in goal after being named in the last three squads.

–IANS

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