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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

Key Real Madrid star will be fit for Valladolid clash despite national team withdrawal



Photo by Linnea Rheborg/Getty Images

Real Madrid have been greeted with some positive news on the injury front as goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois is expected to be fit and ready for the upcoming La Liga clash against Real Valladolid.

The 30-year-old custodian had flown away for national team duty with Belgium and played the full game against Sweden last week. However, the Real Madrid ace was sent back to the club over the weekend due to a minor adductor strain.

This raised concerns over the former Chelsea star’s condition, especially with a busy period lying ahead for the Merengues.

However, Mario Cortegana of The Athletic has eased any nerves surrounding his situation, reporting that Courtois was subjected to tests upon returning to Spain and there is no reason for worry.

The report states that Real Madrid expect their No. 1 to be fit and available for their next game which will be against Real Valladolid in La Liga on April 2, Sunday.

It is further stated that the knock Courtois sustained was not a new one and that the 30-year-old had felt discomfort in the same area during Los Blancos’ UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second-leg tie against Liverpool at the Santiago Bernabeu earlier this month.

Courtois has featured 32 times across all competitions this term, having missed a few matches due to fitness issues. He has managed just ten clean sheets and will be hoping to add to that against Valladolid, now that is reportedly fit to feature at the weekend.

In another boost, reports earlier today indicated that Toni Kroos does not have any injury after concerns were raised due to the midfielder doing individual training sessions over the past week.

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