Reuters

Iniesta winning fitness race for Chile match

Wed, 23 Jun 13:30:00 2010

Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta has shaken off a knock and is confident he will be ready to play for the European champions in Friday's showdown against Group H leaders Chile.

Iniesta was injured in last week's surprise 1-0 defeat to Switzerland and was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win over Honduras on Monday that put Spain back on track to qualify for the last 16.

His creative flair is an important facet of Spain's quick-passing attack and his return to the starting 11 would lift the side as they seek the victory that would set up a possible second-round meeting with Brazil or Portugal.

"I trained well and felt quite good yesterday and could do everything as normal," Iniesta said at a news conference at Spain's training base in Potchefstroom on Wednesday.

"The feelings are good and above all I hope to be available and hope to be at 100 percent so I can help the team, although the question of being in the starting lineup is obviously one for the coach," he added.

There is a degree of uncertainty over the club future of several of Spain's squad members, with reports in the domestic media on Wednesday saying Valencia forward Juan Mata was poised to seal a move to La Liga champions Barcelona.

Midfielder Cesc Fabregas has also made it clear he wants to return to the Catalan club, where he was a youth player, from his current side Arsenal.

Defender Carlos Marchena, who plays with Mata at financially-troubled Valencia, said transfer rumours were an unwanted distraction during a World Cup.

"I don't think it's ideal because when we are with the national team you have to focus," he told the news conference.

"We have a very big opportunity being here at this World Cup but at the same time the (transfer) market is there," he added.

"We have to deal with it, which is not ideal, but up to a certain point, it's normal."

(Editing by Jon Bramley)

 

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