Aragones recalls three veterans for Greece friendly

21st August 2007, Comments 0 comments

21 August 2007, ATHENS - Veteran Spain manager Luis Aragones has recalled three defenders for Wednesday's friendly international away to Greece.

21 August 2007

ATHENS - Veteran Spain manager Luis Aragones has recalled three defenders for Wednesday's friendly international away to Greece.

Pablo Ibanez and Mariano Pernia of Atletico Madrid have been brought back into the Spain squad together with Betis centre-back Juanito Gutierrez.

All three of them were taken by Aragones to last year's World Cup finals. Pablo and Pernia were in the Spanish starting line-up in Germany, Juanito only played against Saudi Arabia but scored the only goal of that match.

Because of injuries and poor form, they have hardly played for Spain in the past 12 months. But now they are back, partly due to the absence through injury of Barcelona's Carles Puyol and of Sevilla's Javi Navarro.

"These are three very good defenders," said Aragones when he announced his squad on Friday, "and it was always my intention to bring them back into the squad when the moment was right."

Aragones explained the presence of no less than six Valencia players in his squad by saying that "Valencia is a team mostly made up of Spanish players ... and they are in really good form now."

When asked why he had still not picked Sevilla wonderboy Jesus Navas, Aragones said that this was "on the advice of his own club," without going into details.

Navas, 21, has suffered a crisis of anxiety every summer for the past four years when starting pre-season training with Sevilla. However, his recent performances - particularly in Sunday's Supercup 5-3 win away to Real Madrid - show that Navas has now overcome this crisis.

Aragones said that the Greece match "will be an important test for us, against the reigning European champions."

He claimed that the challenge will be "to break down one of the tightest defences in European football."

Olympiakos defender Paraskevas Antzas is back in the Greece squad named by coach Otto Rehhagel. Stelios Giannakopoulos and Ioannis Amanatidis are missing as a result of injuries

The game at the Toumba Stadium in Thessalonika will serve as a testimonial for the recently retired Theodoros Zagorakis, captain of Greece side that won the Euro 2004 title. dpa ds bw

[Copyright DPA with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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