Official: Alejandro Balde among four Barcelona players starting for Spain vs Japan
Despite being arguably the best side in the tournament across the opening two matchdays of the FIFA World Cup, Spain are yet to book their place in the Round of 16.
They can do that today, however, as they lock horns against Japan in the final game of the group stages.
Veteran star and in-form defender Jordi Alba has been rested for the game, with his Barcelona teammate Alejandro Balde taking his place at left-back.
The midfield trident is unchanged, as captain Sergio Busquets anchors the team as the defensive midfielder. His fellow Barcelona stars Gavi and Pedri start in advanced positions in the centre of the park.
Unsurprisingly, Ferran Torres has been benched following his subpar display against Germany. Nico Williams takes his place on the right wing.
Dani Olmo retains his place on the left flank, with Alvaro Morata starting as the striker in place of Real Madrid’s Marco Asensio.
Pau Torres and Rodri start in central defence as Cesar Azpilicueta returns at right-back, replacing Dani Carvajal. Unai Simon continues to guard the goal.
🚨 OFICIAL | ¡¡ESTE ES 𝐄𝐋 𝐎𝐍𝐂𝐄 ANTE JAPÓN!!— Selección Española de Fútbol (@SEFutbol) December 1, 2022
👥 Ya tenemos la alineación inicial de @LUISENRIQUE21 para el duelo ante los nipones.
💪🏼 ¡¡Vamos a por todas, equipo!! ¡¡Los octavos de final nos esperan!!#VamosEspaña | #Catar2022 pic.twitter.com/2ThJFI18AV