World Cup Qualifiers: Germany call up three newcomers; Arjen Robben back for Netherlands after year away

Arjen Robben will be in the squad for the Nov. 13 game in Luxembourg, though not for the friendly four days earlier against Belgium.

By: AP | Published:November 4, 2016 7:16 pm
World Cup qualifiers, World Cup 2018 qualifiers, World Cup qualifiers Europe, Germany squad World Cup qualifier, Spain World Cup qualifier, Spain squad, Germany squad, Spain squad, Spain World Cup qualifier, football, football news, sports, sports news Yannick Gerhard of Wolfsburg is one of the three new faces in the Germany squad for the World Cup friendlies. (Source: AP)

Germany coach Joachim Loew has called up three players from the under-21 side for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against San Marino and the friendly against Italy.

While the three were promoted to the senior squad, some regulars were left out. Leroy Sane of Manchester City, Andre Schuerrle of Borussia Dortmund and Antonio Ruediger of Roma are recovering from injuries, while Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil was given time off. Sane has been called into the Under-21 squad.

Toni Kroos of Real Madrid and Sami Khedira of Juventus are likely to play only against San Marino next Friday. The friendly against Italy is on November 15 in Milan.

The newcomers are defenders Benjamin Henrichs of Bayer Leverkusen and Yannick Gerhard of Wolfsburg, and attacking midfielder Serge Gnabry of Werder Bremen. Eight of the squad’s 25 players are 21 or younger.

Germany top Group C with three wins from three qualifiers, while San Marino has lost all three.

Loew said Germany will not approach the match with arrogance but will take it seriously. “We want a clear victory to confirm and extend our lead in the group,” Loew said.

Germany will seek to defend its World Cup title in Russia in 2018. Only group winners qualify directly.

Germany squad:

Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Bernd Leno (Bayer Leverkusen), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona).

Defenders: Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), Yannick Gerhardt (Wolfsburg), Jonas Hector (Cologne), Benjamin Henrichs (Bayer Leverkusen), Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke), Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich), Joshua Kimmich(Bayern Munich), Shkodran Mustafi (Arsenal), Sebastian Rudy (Hoffenheim), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen).

Midfielders: Julian Brandt (Bayer Leverkusen), Serge Gnabry (Werder Bremen), Leon Goretzka (Schalke), Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City), Sami Khedira (Juventus), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Max Meyer (Schalke), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Kevin Volland (Bayer Leverkusen), Julian Weigl (Borussia Dortmund).

Forwards: Mario Gomez (Wolfsburg), Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund).

Arjen Robben back in Netherlands team for World Cup qualifier

After a year blighted by injury, Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben is back in the Netherlands squad for a World Cup qualifier against Luxembourg.

Coach Danny Blind said Friday that Robben will be in the squad for the Nov. 13 Group A game in Luxembourg, though not for the friendly four days earlier in Amsterdam against neighbouring Belgium.

Also back in the Dutch squad after an even longer absence is midfielder Stijn Schaars, who has not played an international since March 2014. Schaars has impressed this season for Dutch club Heerenveen.

Blind gave Sporting Lisbon wingback Marvin Zeegelaar a first call-up in his 25-man squad.

The Netherlands is third in Group A after three matches, three points behind Sweden and France, which play each other on Nov. 11.

Veteran striker Aritz Aduriz returns to Spain squad for qualifier

Spain coach Julen Lopetegui included veteran striker Aritz Aduriz in the squad that will face Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier next week, but several key players are sidelined with injuries, including Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos and Andres Iniesta.

Friday’s announcement that the 35-year-old Aduriz has returned to the national team came a day after he scored five goals in Athletic Bilbao’s 5-3 win over Genk in the Europa League, although Lopetegui said that the decision had already been made before Thursday’s game.

“We had already considered selecting Aduriz before the five goals,” Lopetegui said. “He shows that he has been improving. He will provide us with several different options in the attack.”

Aduriz was part of Spain’s squad at the European Championship earlier this year in France, but he had not been called up since then.

The other forwards picked by Lopetegui on Friday were Diego Costa, Alvaro Morata, Manuel “Nolito” Agudo, Jose Callejon and Victor “Vitolo” Machin.

Spain will host Macedonia on Nov. 12 in the southern city of Granada. It will also play a friendly against England in London three days later.

Lopetegui said he picked 25 players to “cover any possible setbacks.” Also absent from the list because of injuries were Jordi Alba and Javi Martinez.

“We are down several players but we have confidence in the ones that we selected,” Lopetegui said.

Some of the players getting a chance under Lopetegui include goalkeeper Sergio Asenjo, Sergio Escudero, Juan Mata, Marc Bartra and Cesar Azpilicueta. Longtime captain Iker Casillas and midfielder David Villa were not in the list.

Spain and Italy have seven points each after three games in Group G. Albania and Israel are one point behind, while Macedonia and Liechtenstein have yet to earn points.

Only the group winner automatically secures a spot for the World Cup finals in Russia in 2018. The second-place team must go through a playoff to try to make it to the tournament.

Italy will play at last-place Liechtenstein, which has already conceded 12 goals and scored only one.

Spain is coming off a 2-0 win at Albania. Italy and Spain drew 1-1 in Turin in October.

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Sergio Asenjo (Villarreal).

Defenders: Marc Bartra (Borussia Dortmund), Nacho Fernandez (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Sergi Roberto (Barcelona), Inigo Martinez (Real Sociedad), Ignacio “Nacho” Monreal (Arsenal), Sergio Escudero (Sevilla).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Ander Herrera (Manchester United), Francisco “Isco” Alarcon (Real Madrid).

Forwards: Alvaro Morata (Real Madrid), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid), Manuel “Nolito” Agudo (Manchester City), Jose Callejon (Napoli), Diego Costa (Chelsea), Victor “Vitolo” Machin (Sevilla), Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao).

Vincent Kompany back in Belgium squad for Netherlands, Estonia games

Vincent Kompany, the oft-injured leader of Belgium’s national soccer team, is back in the squad for upcoming games against the Netherlands and Estonia.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez says it will depend on his performance for Manchester City this weekend before making a decision how much time Kompany would see during Wednesday’s friendly in Amsterdam and the Nov. 13 World Cup qualifier against Estonia.

Martinez says “we need to get Vincent Kompany back to match fitness.”

The towering defender has been a key to the success of the Belgian national team in recent years as it rose from an also-ran to top of the FIFA rankings.

Belgium is currently leading Group H with nine points from three matches.