Surprises in Luis de la Fuente’s Spain squad for Nations League Final Four
Spain face Italy in the second semi-final on 15 June. Luis de la Fuente announced the list of players who will be travelling to the Netherlands for the tournament.
The third edition of the Nations League will reach it’s conclusion this month and a new name will be engraved onto the trophy as previous winners Portugal and France failed to make it to the Final Four this time around.
After reaching the final in 2021, Spain will be keen to go one better this time and add more silverware to their collection. They face reigning European champions Italy in the second semi-final at De Grolsch Veste, home to FC Twente, in Enschede on 15 June with the winners of that game going on to meet either the Netherlands or Croatia in the final at Stadium Feijenoord in Rotterdam on Sunday 18 June.
Today, Spain coach Luis de la Fuente gave a press conference and announced the list of players who will be travelling to Holland for the tournament. The main surprise was the inclusion of Robin Le Normand, who gets his first call-up after securing Spanish nationality. Real Sociedad’s French-born centre-back played a key role in helping La Real nail down a top-four finish to ensure their return to the Champions League. Le Normand made 33 LaLiga appearances, 31 of them in the starting XI.
Jesús Navas and Juan Bernat figure among the seven defenders in the list. At 37, Navas, a freshly-crowned Europa League winner with Sevilla, is the oldest player in De la Fuente’s squad and made his last appearance in October 2020 in the qualifying defeat to Ukraine in the same competition. He will make the trip as backup for Dani Carvajal at right-back.
Over on the opposite flank, Juan Bernat makes his return after a three and a half-year absence. He last featured for the senior side in November 2019, when he set up Gerard Moreno for one of the goals as La Roja thumped Malta 7-0.
The other point of note was Rodrigo Moreno’s inclusion as one of the seven forwards. He was one of the few positives in what was a disappointing season for Leeds, who faced next season in the Championship. He ended as the team’s top scorer with 13 Premier League goals - almost a third of the team’s total, to finish 12th in the overall table. Rodrigo will be hoping to gain some kind of continuity with the national team - something he hasn’t enjoyed since 2019. His last cap was in the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Sweden in November 2021.
Jordi Alba, Sergio Canales and Marco Asensio have also been recalled after being omitted from the coach’s debut list for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against Norway and Scotland in March.
UEFA Nations League Final Four fixtures
Wednesday 14 June
Netherlands vs Croatia
Thursday 15 June
Spain vs Italy
All matches kick off at 20:45 hours local time (CEST) - 2:45 p.m. EDT / 11:45 a.m. PDT
Spain squad for the 2023 Nations League Final Four
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, Kepa Arrizabalaga, David Raya
Defenders: Carvajal, Jesús Navas, Laporte, David García, Le Normand, Jordi Alba, Juan Bernat
Midfielders: Rodrigo, Zubimendi, Fabián, Mikel Merino, Gavi, Canales.
Forwards: Morata, Joselu, Rodrigo Moreno, Asensio, Nico Williams, Dani Olmo and Yeremy Pino.