Ahead of their World Cup opener against Portugal on June 15, Spain’s head coach Julen Lopetegui believes that Real Madrid right back Dani Carvajal will feature in the World Cup, although it is likely he will miss the opening two group games.
Carvajal suffered a hamstring injury during Real Madrid’s 3-1 Champions League final victory over Liverpool last month, but still joined up with Lopetegui’s squad in order to continue his recovery – as reported by Spanish news publication AS.
And while starting in La Roja’s much anticipated tournament opener against Portugal looks to be unlikely, Lopetegui remains hopeful Carvajal will be able to overcome his injury and feature in Russia this summer.
Speaking at a press conference ahead of their final warm-up game against Tunisia on Saturday, the Spain boss opened up on the full back’s situation, saying: “You have to hold him back slightly, but I’m sure he’ll be ready.
“You want him to take two steps forward instead of just one before suffering a setback. I don’t know if he’ll be ready for the first or second match, but he’ll be fine.”
On top of Carvajal’s absence, Spainish national team veteran Sergio Busquets was a notable omission from their 1-1 draw against Switzerland, with the midfielder reportedly being ruled out through illness.
However, the midfield general was selected as part of the team to face Tunisia in Krasnodar: “Sergio has recovered perfectly,” Lopetegui added. “Provided nothing else happens, he’ll play [on Saturday].”
Spain kick of their World Cup campaign with a high profile match against Portugal in Group B, with La Roja keen to build upon their group stage exit they suffered in Brazil in 2014.