Why Spain Made a Mistake Taking Fernando Torres over Fernando Llorente

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJune 6, 2014

Fernando Torres was not the best choice.
Fernando Torres was not the best choice.David Ramos/Getty Images

Vicente del Bosque doesn't have an easy job picking his Spain squad.

The problem is that there are too many good players that don't get to make the cut.

While that's an issue a lot of managers would like to have, it means the boss leaves himself open for criticism if his selection doesn't pay off.

The two biggest exclusions from Del Bosque's World Cup 2014 squad are strikers Fernando Llorente and Alvaro Negredo.

Alvaro Negredo was left out.
Alvaro Negredo was left out.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Fernando Torres and David Villa have been selected in their stead, decisions that might prove tricky to defend come the end of the tournament, if things don't go well.

Neither Torres nor Villa has been in good goalscoring form this season.

At least Villa, at Atletico Madrid, was playing well.

He put a lot of work in and helped Diego Costa, another striker selected by Del Bosque, impress.

But Costa has struggled with injuries in the past few weeks, and although he is training now, it is easy to imagine him not being ready to play in Brazil.

Torres is the most controversial selection in the squad.

Torres had another poor season.
Torres had another poor season.David Rogers/Getty Images

In his favour, there's no doubt he has experience at the highest levels.

Del Bosque also clearly likes having him in the camp, because based on performances alone he would be enjoying a long summer holiday.

Torres scored 11 goals in 41 games for Chelsea last season, including a paltry five in the Premier League.

By contrast, Negredo, who scored 23 goals in 48 games, was ditched.

As was Llorente, who notched 18 in 44.

Although Negredo has the best record, selecting Llorente made the most sense.

Negredo was injured and then out of form in the final months of the season.

The last time he scored was in January, a brace in the Capital One Cup against West Ham.

Although over the entire season he was more effective than Torres, even Chelsea's misfiring striker is in better form at the moment.

LLorente, though, is a different story.

Llorente is in better form.
Llorente is in better form.Massimo Pinca/Associated Press

While Torres has two goals in his last 14 games, Llorente has notched five in his last eight.

Del Bosque has handed Torres the No. 9 jersey for the tournament, while Costa takes the No 19.

Cesc Fabregas is likely to start the first game up front, against Holland, but after that we could see Torres being given a chance against Chile.

Torres spoke on Thursday about his Spain and soon-to-be Chelsea team-mate Costa. As per AS, he said:

Diego is a strong player that plays well with his back to goal. He can fight, help to move the ball up the pitch when things are not easy with possession; he has different characteristics to the other two players in attack and gives the coach another option.

While his comments are generous, he may not feel that way if Costa usurps him both for Spain and at Chelsea next season.

The Brazilian-born forward has passed his medical and seems set to seal his transfer to Stamford Bridge, as reported by BBC Sport.

Provided Costa is fit, perhaps the decision to take Torres over Llorente won't be too problematic.

Costa was brilliant for Atletico.
Costa was brilliant for Atletico.Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Del Bosque said he was evaluating Costa ahead of Spain's clash with El Salvador on Saturday night.

He told Radio Marca (h/t AS) about Costa and Juanfran, saying: "We don’t want them to get injured again but we want to test them out during the game and I hope the response is good.

"If we can check this in the El Salvador game then great."

Spain supporters will just be hoping that come July, Del Bosque didn't pick the wrong Fernando.


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