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Preview: Spain without Fabregas for South Korea friendly

The defending champions take the field tonight determined to continue their successful run in major tournaments.

File photo - Xavi and Cesc in training
File photo - Xavi and Cesc in training
Image: Francisco Seco/AP/Press Association Images

SPAIN CONTINUE THEIR Euro 2012 preparations with a friendly against South Korea at the Tivoli Neu Stadium in Austria tonight.

Since accounting for Serbia 2-0 at the weekend, Vicente del Bosque has named his 23-man squad for next month’s championships.

There are four members missing from the Spanish squad that triumphed over Germany to win the 2008 European championships – Carlos Marchena, Joan Capdevilla and injured pair Carles Puyol and David Silva.

Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo, who netted 14 goals during the 2011/12 La Liga season, was included, along with Barcelona’s Pedro.

Atletico Madrid striker Adrian Lopez was a surprise omission, despite turning in an impressive substitute display in Saturday’s 2-0 friendly victory against Serbia, with Valencia marksman Roberto Soldado also missing out.

Cesc Fabregas has been told to rest for up to ten days after straining his right thigh muscle in Barcelona’s Copa del Rey success and won’t be risked against South Korea.

Following today’s match, Spain face China in Seville before opening their Euro 2012 campaign against Italy on June 11.

For South Korea’s first match since defeating Kuwait in 2-0 in a February World Cup qualifier, Arsenal Striker Park Chu-Young has been left out of the 26-man squad that is also due to play two World Cup qualifiers against Qatar on June 8 and Lebanon on June 13.

South Korea boss Choi Kang-Hee has included Koo Ja-Cheol (Wolfsburg), Son Heung-Min (Hamburg) and Ji Dong-Won (Sunderland), who missed February’s 2-0 World Cup qualifier victory over Kuwait.

Fellow European-based players Ki Sung-Yeung (Celtic) and Park Joo-Ho (FC Basel) were also named.

But there was no room for Bolton midfielder Lee Chung-Yong despite making two substitute appearances late in the season after recovering from a broken leg.

The remainder of the squad consists of 14 players based in the K-League, four in the J-League and three in the Qatar Stars League.

In four previous meetings, Spain have prevailed twice but the 31st-ranked Koreans claimed a dramatic victory on penalties to advance to the semi-finals of the 2002 World Cup held in South Korea and Japan.

However, Spain won the nations’ most recent encounter – last June – courtesy of Jesus Navas’ goal four minutes from time.

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