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Official: Marco Asensio, Marcos Llorente start for Spain vs Morocco in WC round of 16



Photo by JAVIER SORIANO/AFP via Getty Images

Spain did not quite cruise through the World Cup group stages like they would have wanted to, and largely depended on Germany beating Costa Rica before their place in the round of 16 was confirmed on the final matchday.

Finishing second in the group did sort of push La Roja on the easier side of the bracket, with the first opponent coming in the form of Morocco. Luis Enrique has made five changes to the starting lineup that lost to Japan.

While four of these changes are largely a return of normal team dynamics, there is one surprising switch — at right-back. Neither Cesar Azpilicueta nor Dani Carvajal get to start this game, with Marcos Llorente sliding in over them.

Aymeric Laporta, Rodri, and Jordi Alba complete the back-four, guarding Unai Simon in goal.

The midfield is unchanged, with Sergio Busquets partnered alongside teenage duo Pedri and Gavi. The trio have started every single game this World Cup.

Nico Williams returns to the bench in favour of Ferran Torres, while Marco Asensio replaces Alvaro Morata as the striker. Dani Olmo retains his place as the left-winger.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid maintain full confidence in Turkish starlet despite injury woes



Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Arda Guler’s Real Madrid stint has not gotten off to the start he would have hoped to have given the expectation that preceded the transfer.

Having joined in the summer after Real Madrid outbid their competition to win him over from Fenerbahce for a 20-million-euro fee, buzz was high as the winger was expected to slot into the team quite seamlessly, albeit on a rotational basis.

Unfortunately for the 18-year-old, he has been constantly marred by injuries since completing the move.

Reports have stated that after Guler picked up his third injury since his move, Real Madrid have been concerned and want to take things slow with the player to ensure he is fit as soon as possible after an injury to his quadriceps this time.

The Turk is yet to make his competitive debut for the club, and Real Madrid even sacked their medical chief in November, in light of their injury crises since the beginning of the season.

Rotten luck. (Photo by THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

No loan deal for Guler

However, according to Fabrizio Romano in a recent YouTube video, he states that Madrid maintain full trust and patience in the youngster.

Despite his bad luck with injuries, the latest of which he is scheduled to return from after Christmas, the Galacticos have no intention of loaning out Guler to Turkish clubs despite lots of speculation of them doing so of late.

Romano states that Madrid remain firm on not shaking things up too much with the squad, and they want to keep their roster stable, including Arda Guler.

They want to extend their full support and protection to the player as he aims to return to full fitness and finally make his bow for Madrid either by the end of this month or in 2024.

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