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Spain v Israel: bad manners and bookings


I hope that when the ref's whistle goes all the uneasiness vanishes, but this Spain - Israel game has already caused its fair share of trouble. We had the bad manners to invite Israel to the only city, Gijón, with a first division ground where the city council supports BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions), a movement opposed to the Israeli state's policies. And subsequently, the Spanish team itself was rude to Gijón, by changing the plan to stay there for the two days after the game before heading to Paris where they play on Tuesday. The footballers wanted to come back to Madrid, and convinced the coach Lopetegui. A bad idea in my opinion. And of course it went down like a lead balloon in Gijón. It's easy to see it as a snub.

Spain's team against Israel

A mistake from Lopetegui, who could have stuck to the initial plan. And we are still expecting a demonstration two hours before the game. But I guess things will quieten down once the game is underway, a game in which it looks like Lopetegui is thinking of sacrificing Koke in order to bring together Iniesta and Thiago. We'll see. Diego Costa will be up front. It's confirmed that he's the coach's preferred option. On the wings: Silva and Vitolo, and Busquets will be in his spot, in front of a no-surprise defence: Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Piqué, Jordi Alba and a no-surprise keeper: De Gea. A decent side, who need to get stuck into the game. Spain need the points.

Six Spanish players one card away from suspension

An interesting fact: there are six players who are one card away from missing the next game. It's a tasty list: Sergio Ramos, Piqué, Busquets, Thiago, Vitolo and Diego Costa. The next game is against Macedonia, on 11 June, just after the club season finishes. THe next, in September, is against Italy. I don't know how Lopetegui will manage this. They'll be tempted to get the card, ensure they are off on holiday early and ensure they can play the Italy game. But is it recommendable? How many should try it? Two, four, all six? Who should, who shouldn't? Questions to keep us entertained while we wait for this game that's had dark clouds hanging over it. At least the atmosphere at last night's training was good.

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