'Chelsea's Spanish trio' meant something very different not two years ago, when the Blues could boast Juan Mata in their ranks and hadn't been merrily raiding La Liga all summer. This time around it means exactly who you think it does: Cesar Azpilicueta, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa have all been called up for Spain's upcoming friendly against France and real match versus Macedonia.
OFICIAL | Convocatoria de la @SeFutbol para medirse a Francia y Macedonia / Spain's Call Up VS France and Macedonia pic.twitter.com/XQHgXOwRWP— Selección Española (@SeFutbol) August 29, 2014
The absences of both Xabi Alonso and Xavi means that we have a new-look Spain side, and you'd have to expect Cesc Fabregas to be starting in the midfield now that those two are out. Costa, meanwhile, is presumably nailed on to start after beginning his Chelsea career in fine form, and Cesar Azpilicueta faces a playing time dogfight with a strong corps of fullbacks for Vicente del Bosque to choose from.
Spain play France on September 4th at the Stade de France, before European Championship qualifying proper begins with a home match against Macedonia on the 8th.
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And since we're in European Championship qualifying season, we'll see a number of other callups. World Cup hero André Schürrle is in the German team to face Argentina in a rematch of the finals from Brazil, the sort of move you expect when you assist the winning goal in extra time against that same team. So far this season has seen Schürrle push his way into the starting role opposite Eden Hazard -- might it be time he becomes more than a super-sub for his country?
If you're so inclined you can watch Germany face Argentina on September 3rd before going against Scotland to start qualifying four days later.