Spain vs. Uruguay: Projected Starting XIs and Battles to Watch in Friendly
International friendlies rarely get people very excited, but when it's the reigning champions of Europe, up against the reigning champions of South America, then it's time to stand up and take notice.
That's just what football fans across the world can look forward to on Wednesday, when Spain meet Uruguay in Doha.
Dubbed, "The Battle of the Champions," this promises to be a fascinating match between two teams that will meet again in the Confederations Cup in Brazil this summer.
To get you in the mood for the game, here are our projected XIs and the key battles to watch out for during the game.
Spain Projected XI
Spain have suffered injuries to some key players leading up to this game, though of course it's more a case that it gives an opportunity for other wonderful players to shine, rather than really weakening the team.
An injury to Iker Casillas keeps him out of the squad and should give an opportunity for Victor Valdes to win his eleventh cap. In midfield, Spain have seen both Xabi Alonso and Xavi withdraw through injury.
The Atletico Madrid midfielder Mario Suarez has been named as a replacement, but more senior players will probably start. It provides an opportunity for Cesc Fabregas to play in a deeper role than the "False 9" that he is often employed in by Spain, while the similarly versatile Sergio Busquets can step up from the central defensive role where he has been employed of late.
Such versatility highlights the difficulty of predicting the Spanish starting XI. Vincente Del Bosque has a myriad of options, to the point where Spain don't really have a strongest starting lineup.
He may use this opportunity to give a start to a more traditional striker, with David Villa and Alvaro Negredo both named in his squad.
Uruguay Projected XI
Uruguay might come into this game as the South American champions, but they don't go into it in good form.
Their last outing saw them defeat Poland 3-1, which was their first victory in six games. The big question here is whether Oscar Tabarez picks all three of his big guns—Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani.
The last time Uruguay played all three together was in a 3-0 defeat to Argentina back in October of last year, in which Cavani lined up on the left in a 4-4-1-1, with Forlan tucked in behind Suarez.
Since then, Cavani was benched for the 4-1 defeat to Bolivia, before being recalled for the Poland match, in which Forlan didn't feature.
Yet with the match behind held in Doha, it seems a good bet that the Qatar promoters will be expecting Uruguay's biggest stars to turn out, which could see a return for the attacking trio.
Cavani vs. Arbeloa
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If Cavani does return to the left of Uruguay's midfield, he can be expected to play much higher up the pitch and do much less tracking back than your average left-midfielder. He can also be expected to drift inside, as he dribbles with the ball toward goal.
Against many full-backs that might be exploited, but Real Madrid's Alvaro Arbeloa doesn't pose the same attacking threat as Jordi Alba on Spain's left, who tends to have the license to get forward, while Arbeloa sits deeper.
Up against Cavani, it might make sense to reverse the roles and try to get Arbeloa to exploit the space that the Napoli forward will leave, or just as effectively force Cavani to track back.
It is somewhat bizarre that Cavani, who is arguably Uruguay's best player, is shunted off to the wing. On current form Cavani might be expected to lead the attack, with Suarez playing deep behind him, but Forlan is still a legend for his country, even if his best club form has deserted him.
Pedro vs. Caceres
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The Juventus defender Martin Caceres had an unsuccessful spell at Barcelona, so he's probably familiar with the player he will be dealing with on Wednesday night.
Pedro is currently in superb form for Spain, scoring five goals in his last three starts for the national team.
It should be an intriguing battle. Caceres is not short of pace and likes to get forward, but how much of an opportunity will he get with Spain likely to have most of the possession and Pedro to deal with?
Arevalo and Gargano vs. the Spain Midfield
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Gargano and Arevalo look to have the toughest job of any Uruguayan in the Doha heat. Between them they much try to press and close down the Spain midfield.
It's impossible to get the ball off Spain, so what is more important for the Uruguay duo is that they work hard to ensure that the Spanish possession has nowhere to go other than side-to-side.
What is also impossible is pinpointing the Spanish midfielders that Gargano and Arevalo must handle. They're so fluid that the likes of Iniesta, Fabregas and Silva will constantly rotate positions, with Cazorla, Isco and Mata ready to step in to add to Uruguay's problems when legs are fading.