César Azpilicueta did not feature in Spain’s Round of 16 match against Morocco, which they would end up losing on a penalty kick shootout, and as it turns out, that was due to a (minor?) injury he had picked up last week. The Chelsea captain was thus reduced to watching his country of birth exit the 2022 World Cup from the bench.
Azpi had started two of Spain’s three group matches, but was removed at half-time in the second — a decision that raised some eyebrows at the time (especially as Japan staged a comeback win), but was later somewhat explained by vaguely blaming an injury. That injury has been reported as both a “thigh” injury as well as a “calf” injury.
Whatever it was (and still is), it kept him out of at least one day of training, perhaps more. He did participate at least partially in one session prior to yesterday’s match, but evidently did not recover well enough to actually play.
While that’s unfortunate for Dave, hopefully his injury is minor enough to not pose a problem once he rejoins Chelsea and we resume the season on Boxing Day. We could certainly use a shorter injury list in the new year!