Spain's Torres may not start semifinal
Fernando Torres has failed to score in any of Spain's five World Cup matches, and coach Vicente del Bosque is considering dropping the struggling striker for Wednesday's semifinal against Germany (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET).
Torres has rarely looked in scoring form, despite starting four straight games, including Saturday's 1-0 quarter-final win over Paraguay.
"He remains a reference for us," Del Bosque said on Sunday. "To be on a (scoreless) streak or not, he offers hard work and personality and he'll be our striker. Saying that doesn't mean he's an untouchable starter, but we have full confidence in him."
The 26-year-old Torres arrived at the World Cup still recovering from knee surgery in April. He hasn't scored in a competitive international since the Confederations Cup a year ago.
The match at Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium is the first between the two nations since Torres scored the winning goal in Spain's 1-0 victory in the European Championship final two years ago.
Del Bosque tinkered with his formation during the match against Paraguay, with midfielder Cesc Fabregas replacing Torres after 56 minutes and forward Pedro Rodriguez later coming on.
Fabregas could start against Germany as part of a five-man midfield behind David Villa. That is how Spain lined up in the Euro 2008 final, with Torres as the lone striker.
"We wanted to see how (Paraguay) would respond to the situation but they knew us well," Del Bosque said of the five-man midfield. "It didn't influence their game and there was no surprise factor. We went back to our usual ways. These alternatives depend on the rival."
Villa is one player who will definitely be in the starting lineup as his five goals lead the tournament.
The Barcelona-bound striker, who missed the 2008 win over Germany, could lead the attack alone. Del Bosque may also bring in lanky striker Fernando Llorente, while David Silva is also a midfield possibility despite the newly signed Manchester City player being mostly confined to the bench.
"We've got so much competition in those positions," said Del Bosque, who has used an unchanged starting lineup for three straight games. "We've been entrenched in certain things. (But) it's also our strength — their union."
The winner will play either two-time champion Uruguay or the Netherlands in the final at Soccer City on July 11.