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Spanish set for strong defence

Team focus: The champions have familiar opposition early on but expect to go all the way.

Knee injury
The reigning champions' coach Javier Lozano lost Daniel to a knee injury ahead of the tournament. The 28-year-old Boomerang Interviú FS winger sustained a knee injury while on club duty recently. Daniel subsequently underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee but would not be able to recover in time.

'Huge blow'
Goalkeeper Luis Amado told uefa.com that Daniel would be much missed in the squad. "Losing Daniel at this moment is a huge blow for us. He is one of our key players and it's a real shame," he said. Lozano has instead included the exciting winger Pipe who has 16 caps. The coach believed his exceptional technical ability and goalscoring prowess would more than compensate for Daniel's absence.

Goalkeeping woe

Chance to shine
To fill the gap, Lozano has called up the 24-year old URJC Móstoles goalkeeper Paco Sedano despite a lack of experience. Amado said: "It's natural that Paco might be a bit anxious during the tournament, particularly at the start but I just hope that he is able to relax and enjoy himself," he said. The developments followed the earlier forced retirement of El Pozo Murcia Turística FS goalkeper Sergio López-Andújar, 26, after the discovery of a heart complaint.

Ukraine danger
For the group stage, Spain have been pitted against competition hosts Chinese Taipei, coached by the experienced Belgian Damien Knabben, Ukraine and Egypt in Group A. Amado has no doubt where the real danger lies. "For us, Ukraine are the ones to look out for. Meeting the host team is always tricky but we are far more worried about the Ukrainians. We have met them several times before and know how strong they are - out of all the teams in our group they will give us the hardest time."

Full throttle
Amado concluded that the Spanish squad were as keen as ever to recover the title they won in Guatamala four years ago. "We will be without an important player like Daniel but we are looking at the tournament with the same excitement as we always have done - trying to play some good football and hoping to win."

Spain squad
Luis Amado, Rafa, Paco Sedano, Julio, Torras, Kike, Orol, Fran Serrejón, Pipe, Andreu, Limones, Alberto Cogorro, Marcelo, Javi Rodríguez.