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Nov 27, 2012 9:44pm
Medium lingzi 1454 posts

MADRID, Spain—With David Villas health a question mark and Fernando Torres
form also in doubt, Spains attack may need a Plan B in its quest to win a third
straight major international title at this years European Championship. Ed Reed Youth Jersey . Torres is expected to
be included in coach Vicente del Bosques 23-man squad on May 27, but Villas
chances are slim because the Barcelona striker hasnt played since December. Del
Bosque told The Associated Press he would be hard-pressed to take Villa to
Poland and Ukraine unless he got an official game in. The Spain coach has even
delayed his squad announcement to give the countrys all-time leading scorer a
chance to play in the Copa del Rey final two days before his team is named.
“Everything depends on what the players and the doctors say. If he doesnt play
its going to be more difficult to include him in the squad,” Del Bosque said.
“Its not a short-term injury. Its a serious injury so we have to be sure hes in
good shape.” Perhaps no pair of strikers have meant more to a national team in
recent years than Villa and Torres. Villa led Euro 2008 scoring, with Torres
getting the winner against Germany in the final four years ago. Villa was then
joint top scorer at the World Cup with five goals as Spain won again. Torres dip
and Villas uncertainty has placed further pressure on Spains talented midfield
to overcome the fatigue of another long and grueling season when it opens Group
C play against Italy on June 10. Barcelona forward Pedro Rodriguezs dwindling
playing time has also seen the World Cup winners chances dip as Del Bosque has
introduced young talent into the team such as Thiago Alcantara, Iker Muniain and
Jordi Alba. “This season has been marked by injuries and fatigue,” Del Bosque
said. “But we cant look for excuses. We have to focus on how we can best prepare
in the days before the tournament, what the players need to be fed, how much
rest they need, how can we make sure we get to the tournament in the best
shape.” Spain will be without veteran defender Carles Puyol because of right
knee surgery, while Barcelona teammate Xavi Hernandez has also been hampered by
injuries over the second half of a disappointing season for his club. Puyols
absence—his first at a major championship since he played at the 2002 World
Cup—means Barcelona teammate Gerard Pique and Madrid defender Sergio Ramos
will likely anchor the defence. The left fullback position seems to be a
question mark, with Alvaro Arbeloa and Alba the strongest candidates. “For
everyone this is a weird situation, so whether it affects us or not, the results
will tell,” Spain captain Iker Casillas said. “If we go deep into the tournament
nobody will remember it but if we falter in the first round then it will be
talked about. The problem now is that we are not an unknown quantity, everyone
wants to go out and beat Spain.” Xavi and Barcelona teammates Andres Iniesta,
Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Thiago lead a midfield that also includes
David Silva, Xabi Alonso and Santi Cazorla. Spain was perfect in qualifying and
has won 33 of its 36 competitive games since the Euro 2008 triumph, with only
two losses. “We believe we have a great generation of players,” Xavi said. “The
whole world is keeping an eye on the team and there is a certain pressure, but a
good one.” No team is deeper at goalkeeper than Spain, with Casillas set to
start his sixth major championship. Behind him, Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina are
ready to fill in. That leaves just the attack under the spotlight. The only
certainty is that Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente will be in the team.
Roberto Soldado seemed to have won a place after scoring a hat trick in a
friendly in February, but the Valencia strikers form has dipped since. Sevilla
striker Alvaro Negredo has always succeeded with Spain—scoring five goals in
seven appearances—but his irregular club form hasnt helped his standing. So
while no Spanish striker has scored as much as Llorente this season, Del Bosque
signalled he wont alter his strategy to fit his most productive player. “No
player is negative to our way of playing. We have to stay true to our style of
playing and I think (Llorente) has shown before he can play our game,” Del
Bosque said of the lanky Basque striker, who made an impact in his lone
appearance at the World Cup in the victory over Portugal. Del Bosque sees World
Cup finalist Netherlands and Euro 2008 runner-up Germany as Spains toughest
competition, while not dismissing England, France and Portugal. But the
61-year-old former Real Madrid coach, who can be placed among the all-time
greats by securing his first European title on his first try, is also reminding
his players to remain concentrated on group play first. Besides Italy, Spain
will face Ireland on June 14 and Croatia four days later. “We cant look at it
like its an easy group. Each team has its own characteristics,” Del Bosque said.
“These are three teams with qualities we have to be prepared for.” Terrell Suggs Youth Jersey . Bolt, 25,
comfortably won his heat in a time of 20.39 seconds, qualifying for Wednesdays
semi-finals. Anquan Boldin Jersey . Major League Soccer
commissioner Don Garber addressed a Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
luncheon Wednesday, just over one month before the Impact will make their home
debut as an MLS expansion team at Olympic Stadium. http://www.shopthebaltimoreravensjerseys.com/dennis-pitta-jerseys
. President Boris Tadic has decorated the tennis great with the Karadjordjeva
Star Medal, the highest honour in the Balkan country. Dennis Pitta Jersey .C. —Defending champion
John Isner and top-seeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had straight-sets victories
Thursday night to set up a semifinal match in the Winston-Salem Open. Joe Flacco Youth Jersey . In a statement
released Saturday, the International Cycling Union (UCI) argues that it—and
not the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency—is the authority that should handle the
Armstrong case.Jose Bautistas  incredible voyage from  prospect to journeyman to
star with the Blue Jays has been well-documented. It is almost unique in Major
League history. But if you look closely at Edwin Encarnacion, his story may be
even more unusual and amazing. Since being drafted in the 9th round by Texas in
2000, Encarnacion has been traded twice, designated for assignment twice and
released once. In 2010 alone, the  Blue Jays out-righted the Dominican-born
slugger to Las Vegas and lost him on waivers to Oakland after the season, only
to reclaim and re-sign him just over a month later. The Jays acquired
Encarnacion at the July 31st trade deadline in 2009. He was rumoured to have
been merely a  salary–dump throw–in in the Scott Rolen deal with Cincinnati. The
Jays really wanted pitchers Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart, but had to take
Encarnacion to make the deal happen, something no one has ever really confirmed.
A year ago, Encarnacion was being booed for his struggles defensively at 1st and
3rd and it started to look as though he might be on his way out of town. With a
lot of hard work on his defence, he suddenly began to improve with the leather
and his hitting took off in the second half. But thats not the end of it. In the
off-season, Encarnacion took it upon himself to change his approach and
technique at the plate. Instead of releasing his upper hand on the each swing,
he keeps both hands on the bat all the way through the follow –through, creating
a quiccker and more compact stroke. Cary Williams Womens Jersey. . The results
have been compelling. In early May, Encarnacion was tied with the Rangers
Josh Hamilton for the American League lead in homeruns. Earlier this week,
skipper John Farrell said he didnt know where the club would be without him. All
of this creates an interesting quandary. Encarnacion is a free agent at the end
of this season. Its too early to predict how good his numbers might end up being
or whether he might truly be an MVP candidate. However Encarnacion is only
making $3.5 million in this, the option year of his contract. At 29, he could be
just entering his prime but many teams wouldnt lavish a large contract on a
player who is primarily a designated hitter. If Encarnacion continues his
slugging over the course of a full season, its going to be an interesting
decision for Jays general manager Alex Anthopolous and the whole organization in
the off-season. Notes: When Brandon Morrow tossed his three-hit shutout against
the Angels Thursday night the night after the Angels Jered Weaver fired his
no-hitter, it brought back some interesting memories. In September of 1968,
Gaylord Perry of the Giants no-hit Bob Gibson and St. Louis 1-0. The very next
day, the Cardinals Ray Washburn pitched a no-no against the Giants. Brandon
didnt quite get the no-hitter but he only pitched to one batter over the
minimum, struck out eight and didnt walk anyone. Scott Ferguson is the
Sportscentre Update anchor 4-7pm Mon-Fri and Jays analyst/reporter. ’ ’ ’ 

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