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How Spain could line up against Japan

How Spain could line up against Japan

Spain starlet Gavi has emerged as a doubt for Thursday’s World Cup 2022 Group E clash against Japan.

The 18-year-old midfielder has started both of La Roja’s first two group matches, but the Barcelona youngster picked up a minor injury in the 1-1 draw with Germany on Sunday and has since missed first-team training.

Meanwhile, fellow Barca midfielder and Spain captain Sergio Busquets – who is one booking away from a suspension – is set to be rested on Thursday, with Luis Enrique already having one eye on the last 16 even though La Roja’s place in the knockout rounds is yet to be secured.

Carlos Soler, Koke and Marcos Llorente will all be vying for the midfield spots up for grabs, while Rodri could move up from centre-back to deputise for Busquets.

Should the Manchester City man play in a familiar deep-lying midfield role, either Pau Torres or Eric Garcia would be expected to start in central defence alongside Aymeric Laporte.

Dani Carvajal will be hoping to retain his place at right-back ahead of Cesar Azpilicueta, while Jordi Alba is set to continue at left-back ahead of Alejandro Balde.

In attack, Alvaro Morata has scored two goals in two substitute appearances so far in Qatar, and the 29-year-old will be pushing to start as the central striker on Thursday, which could see Marco Asensio drop out of the front three.

Ferran Torres and Dani Olmo are the two most likely candidates to keep their places in attack, while Nico Williams, Ansu Fati, Yeremy Pino and Pablo Sarabia are all set to provide cover on the substitutes’ bench.

Spain possible starting lineup: Simon; Carvajal, Rodri, Laporte, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; F. Torres, Morata, Olmo

> Click here to see how Japan could line up for this contest

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