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Spain Lose Their X-Factor

Spain will be without their X-factor when they take on Uruguay in an international friendly on Wednesday night.

On a Fifa night which pits England against Brazil, France against Germany and Holland against Italy, the clash between the European and South American champions is the most eye-catching.

However, La Furia Roja were dealt a blow at the weekend, when both Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso were ruled out by injury.

Barcelona schemer Xavi limped out of the Blaugrana’s 1-1 draw at Valencia with a hamstring strain on Sunday night.

Real Madrid anchor man Alonso meanwhile, damaged his groin in Los Blancos’ shock defeat to Granada on Saturday.

Both Barca and Real’s players struggled in their weekend assignments after the gritty Copa del Rey draw they contested against one another last week.

And Barca’s stand-in manager, Jordi Roura, was forced to admit his players lacked the legs to trouble dogged Valencia.

"There is no doubt that we come into this after a very tough (Copa del Rey) match in Madrid," Roura explained.

"Our showing in the first half cost us, and Valencia had a great intensity in the second, playing higher up the pitch, from a physical standpoint.

"As always, we came with the intention of winning, but what happened was we found it difficult at the Mestalla and, in the end, a draw is fair enough.

"We lacked intensity in the first half. We lacked depth in the second half; we had three or four very clear chances. Overall, we did not have the freshness of other games, but it's understandable."

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque can only hope his legion of Barca and Real internationals recuperate before Wednesday, to give Uruguay a run for their money in Qatar, despite the loss of Xavi and Xabi.  

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