Pique Sittings Out Final Match
Spain will be without Barcelona defender Gerard Pique for their final group match of the World Cup 2014 against Australia as the defender hobbled out of training with the an injury. Spain were knocked out of the tournament after having played just two matches. They suffered heavy defeats against Netherlands and Chile, which has been uncharacteristic of them. The Spanish team has conceded very few goals in the last few years, but they suffered a total collapse in both these matches.
It has been cited that the absence of former Barcelona defender Carlos Puyol is the reason for this poor form. Pique has been used alongside Sergio Ramos at the back. Both players, however, were exposed quite often by the likes of Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben in the opening 5-1 humiliation against the Dutch. It was followed up with another poor performance against Chile. As a result, they joined the list of world champions who were knocked out of the subsequent tournament from the first stage.
Spain will be playing for pride in the final match and it is highly expected that Vicente del Bosque will be making substantial changes to the starting line-up. The likes of Juan Mata and Cesc Fabregas, who have not seen much game time in the tournament, will be starting. Along with Pique, midfielder Xavi is also set to miss the match. The 34-year-old is widely expected to not only announce his retirement from international football, but he is also set to leave Barcelona – the club where he has been playing since 1998.
This could also be the last match for players like Xabi Alonso and Iker Casillas, who were a major part in Spain lifting the two European titles and one World Cup since 2008. This was a period of unprecedented dominance from Spain.