World Cup 2018
Spain's World Cup 2018 squad revealed: according to Panini
The team at Panini have already launched their World Cup edition of stickers for this summer's tournament in Russia and it contains a few surprises. Cruz Azul vs America: Liga MX, live online
With still three months left until the 2018 World Cup in Russia, sticker collectors can start to get excited about the soon-to-be-released Panini products.
Panini stickers and trading cards
There are two specific types of cards: the traditional stickers to be carefully placed into the extensive album, and the trading cards which will go under the name 'Adrenalyn'. It is expected that the sticker album will go on sale on March 22, however the trading cards can already be purchased in stores.
The card collection includes key players that have been included in the qualifying rounds for their country. There are not, however, 23 players from each country (the true complement required) but the bigger nations do have most of their expected faces. In the case of Spain, for example, 18 of the 23 players are already confirmed - by Panini that is and not Julen Lopetegui - and one of these in particular is rather a surprise.
Panini stickers and trading cards
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal).
El álbum de cromos del Mundial de Rusia 2018.
Lucas Biglia (Argentina) y Thiago Silva (Brasil).
Algunas de las cartas 'Adrenalyne' de Panini.
Las tiras de cromos del Mundial de Panini en la imprenta.
Douglas Costa (Brasil).
Román torres y José Calderón (Panamá).
Gary Cahill y Phil Jones (Inglaterra).
Los escudos de las selecciones del Mundial de Rusia 2018.
Carvajal, Busquets, Isco y Thiago, entre los cromos filtrados de España.
Las selecciones de Brasil y Uruguay.
Las selecciones de Japón y Senegal.
Only one goalkeeper is included, David de Gea (Manchester United), whose presence in Russia, barring injury, is indisputable. He will also appear as a 'special' goalkeeper card. In defence it is assumed by the card makers that Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid) and Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), will be catching a flight with Lopetegui this summer, and added to them is Nacho (Real Madrid) ) and Monreal (Arsenal). There are certainly plenty of signs that the versatile Madrid player is in the mind of the national coach, but the north London Gunner is having a very inconsistent season and was not picked to play in the most recent games against Costa Rica and Russia.
La Roja middle men
As for the list of midfielders being presented by Panini, there is no surprise to see Isco (Real Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Busquets (Barcelona), Iniesta (Barcelona) and David Silva (Manchester City). They are joined by others who, as yet, cannot be seen as certainties to make the trip: Saúl (Atlético Madrid), Koke (Atlético Madrid) and Asensio (Real Madrid), although it would be no surprise to see them there, especially as Zidane gives more pitch time to his young gem. There are some special cards for Spain in this group too with Sergio Busquets among "fan favorites", Asensio among "emerging stars", Iniesta among the "icons" (only Luis Suárez and Cristiano have a card like that) and Isco among the "game changers".
Lopetegui's strike force
Up front in Spain's Panini-predicted line-up there are the expected duo of Álvaro Morata (Chelsea) and Diego Costa (Atlético Madrid). A surprise inclusion, however, is the face of Vitolo (Atlético Madrid), who has not completed a full league match since November, when he was still on Las Palmas' books.
In Lopetegui's final squad list, assuming he agrees with those included in these cards, will be another five players, two of which belong to goalkeepers.
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