Spain was obliged to make a last-minute World Cup team alteration following a brutal Luis Enrique call

Spain’s first World Cup match is against Costa Rica on Wednesday in Qatar, a member of Group E.

Due to an ankle injury sustained during training by former Arsenal transfer target Jose Luis Gaya, Spain manager Luis Enrique has had to make a last-minute change to his World Cup roster. After learning that he won’t be risked for the tournament in Qatar, the Valencia left-back, who had been expected to start for La Roja, has been given a terrible blow.

Gaya’s ankle sprain is only anticipated to keep him out for about a week, but Enrique isn’t willing to let passengers slow him down as he pursues World Cup success in the Middle East twelve years after Spain’s historic victory in South Africa in 2010.

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The knowledge [on Gaya’s injury] belongs to the player and the physicians, specifically the player, he told reporters earlier on Thursday evening. We will decide on it tomorrow, and we will let you know what we decide.

Alejandro Balde, a Barcelona youngster who is 19 years old and has yet to play for the senior team, is anticipated to replace Gaya.

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This season, the highly regarded adolescent has made 16 appearances for Barcelona across all competitions, including four in the Champions League.

After forcing his way into Xavi’s first-team picture at the Camp Nou, Balde is seen as a major talent for the future.

Additionally, Balde is at ease playing both left and right back, so he would give Enrique additional defensive versatility.

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On Thursday night, Spain defeated Jordan 3-1 in their penultimate exhibition game before the start of their Group E competition the following week.

Despite the unfortunate blow of losing Gaya, Spain concluded their preparations on a positive note thanks to goals from Ansu Fati, Gavi, and Nico Williams.

Cesar Azpilicueta, the captain of Chelsea, and Jordi Alba will be available if additional left-back coverage and experience are needed.

On November 23, La Roja takes on Costa Rica in Doha before facing off against Germany and Japan.

This time, there haven’t been any major setbacks in the Spain team’s preparations, in contrast to last year, when head coach Julen Lopetegui was fired just before the tournament.

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Before 52-year-old tactician Enrique rejoined the team in 2019, Fernando Hierro served as his interim replacement.

At the European Championships, he led his team to the semifinals, where Spain would ultimately lose to Italy on penalties after a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes at Wembley.

As Enrique showed his ruthlessness, there have already been a number of high-profile conspicuous absences from the Spain team for Qatar.

Sergio Ramos and Thiago Alcantara were both left off of his final 26-man squad, which came as a great shock to some in the opposition.

Instead, Spain has chosen to concentrate on its vibrant youthful core, led by the highly regarded Barcelona three of Pedri, Ansu Fati, and Gavi.