Spain vs. Tahiti: Young Spanish Stars Ready to Strut Their Stuff
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After a convincing 2-1 victory over South American champion Uruguay in its opening match of the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Spain has a significantly easier task ahead of them against an inexperienced Tahitian side.
Spain enters today's match as an eight-goal favorite over the underdog island nation, according to the SportingNews.com.
With the odds heavily in their favor, Spain can take the opportunity to rest star players like Xavi, Pedro and Sergio Ramos, giving coach Vicente del Bosque a chance to evaluate some of the club's younger talent.
Roberto Soldado has emerged as one of the true stars of the Spanish La Liga. Last season, he set a career high with 24 goals for Valencia.
That momentum carried over to the national team, with Soldado tallying six goals in his last eight caps for Spain.
His play earned him a starting spot in Spain's Group B opener against Uruguay, and he did not disappoint, knocking home what turned out to be the game winning goal in the 32nd minute.
With fellow striker Pedro expected to take a rest against Tahiti, today's match is an excellent opportunity for Soldado to showcase his skills as the team's top forward.
Though he debuted for the Spanish side in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Javier Martinez has been used sparingly in the years since, recording just 11 international caps for his career.
But the young midfielder gained a lot of experience at the club level this season, helping Bayern Munich take the top spots in the German Budesliga and UEFA Champions League.
Not only that, but Martinez also had a chance to learn from Bayern Munich teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger—an accomplished international player in his own right.
Martinez appeared briefly during the victory over Uruguay, subbing in for Xavi in the 77th minute; but with Xavi likely taking a seat in today's match, Martinez deserves a start.
Spain's midfield is loaded with talent, but a strong performance from Martinez could earn him more starts in the future.
With just two caps for the Spanish national team, Cesar Azpilicueta has the least international experience on the roster.
ESPNfc.com describes the 23-year-old defender as "a technically gifted right-back with the ability to provide width and an attacking threat," and it is hard to argue with their assessment.
Azpilicueta played well enough to earn a place in the Premier League with Chelsea, picking up four helpers in 24 EPL appearances.
Today's game is the perfect opportunity for Azpilicueta to earn additional playing time in place of one of Spain's veteran defensive backs.
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