Ansu Fati returns for Spain’s decisive World Cup qualifiers

MADRID (AP) — Spain coach Luis Enrique called up Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati on Friday for the national team’s decisive World Cup qualifiers against Greece and Sweden.

With two matches remaining, Spain is in second place behind Sweden in their qualifying group. The group winners qualify for the next year’s tournament in Qatar, while second-place finishers face a playoff.

Spain plays Greece in Athens on Nov. 11 and then hosts Sweden in Seville on Nov. 14. Sweden leads Group B with 15 points, followed by Spain with 13 and Greece with nine.

The 19-year-old Fati will join a squad that is largely untouched from the group that reached the semifinals of the European Championship in July and the Nations League final last month.

The other additions are AC Milan attacking midfielder Brahim Díaz and defender Dani Carvajal, the first Real Madrid player that Luis Enrique has included since March.

In September 2020, Fati became the youngest player to score in the history of Spain’s national team at the age of 17 years, 311 days when he scored in a 4-0 win over Ukraine. Two months later, Fati injured his left knee meniscus and was sidelined for 10 months.

He finally returned to play for Barcelona in late September. Fati has scored three goals in seven appearances since then, including the winner in Barcelona’s 1-0 victory at Dynamo Kyiv this week in the Champions League.

Spain will be without midfielders Pedri González and Marcos Llorente, forward Ferran Torres, and striker Mikel Oyarzabal because of injury. Luis Enrique called up Leeds striker Rodrigo Moreno to fill in his depleted attack, while Dani Olmo and Álvaro Morata also return after missing the previous squad because of injury.



Goalkeepers: Unai Simón (Athletic Bilbao), David de Gea (Manchester United), Róbert Sánchez (Brighton)

Defenders: César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Eric García (Barcelona), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Íñigo Martínez (Athletic Bilbao), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), José Gayà (Valencia)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernández (Manchester City), Gavi Páez (Barcelona), Koke Resurrección (Atlético Madrid), Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad), Carlos Soler (Valencia)

Forwards: Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Brahim Díaz (AC Milan), Pablo Sarabia (Sporting Lisbon), Pablo Fornals (West Ham), Yéremi Pino (Villarreal), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Rodrigo Moreno (Leeds)

Barcelona’s Ansu Fati during the Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Valencia at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

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