José Antonio Camacho had a shock in store when he announced his World Cup Squad this afternoon. Everybody knew that he would be taking the 18 players who turned out against Northern Ireland, and there was much speculation about who the other five would be.
Nobody though expected he would name an uncapped player, especially as he had been trying out several new faces in the last couple of friendly games. And so the surprise when he named Mallorca's young striker Albert Luque rather than Munitis, Tamudo or Urzaiz as his fourth attacking player. Luque has been on form recently though, and scored the winning goal on Saturday which kept his side in the first division.
As expected Ricardo was named as the third keeper, and in the absence of the injured Sergi, Deportivo's Romero was named as the second left back. No place then for either César (keeper and central defender), nor for Michel Salgado.
Two Barcelona players make up the squad, and whereas the versatile and experienced Luis Enrique was in everyone's list, Xavi was not thought to have much of a chance as his position is well covered. He was though a logical choice as the replacement for the injured Guardiola, and gets the nod ahead of Vicente and Víctor.
The omission of Vicente and Munitis may leave a weak spot down the left flank however, where the largely untried De Pedro and the two full backs are the only natural left footed players (Raúl excepted of course). Mendieta or Luis Enrique will probably be expected to fill the gap.
Keepers: Casillas (Real Madrid), Cañizares (Valencia), Ricardo (Valladolid).
Defenders: Puyol (Barcelona), Juanfran (Celta), Romero (Deportivo), Nadal (Mallorca), Hierro and Iván Helguera (Real Madrid), Curro Torres (Valencia).
Midfielders: Luis Enrique and Xavi (Barcelona), Joaquín (Betis), Sergio and Valerón (Deportivo), Mendieta (Lazio), De Pedro (Real Sociedad), Albelda and Baraja (Valencia).
Forwards: Diego Tristán (Deportivo), Luque (Mallorca), Morientes and Raúl (Real Madrid).
The squad will gather in Jerez de la Frontera next Wednesday, and will be flying out to South Korea five days later. (13.05.02)