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De Gea ousts Casillas to start Spain defence

Spain's goalkeeper David De Gea speaks during a press conference in Saint Martin de Re's stadium on June 10, 2016, prior the start of the Euro 2016 football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Spain’s goalkeeper David De Gea speaks during a press conference in Saint Martin de Re’s stadium on June 10, 2016, prior the start of the Euro 2016 football tournament. / AFP PHOTO / PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has given embattled goalkeeper David De Gea a huge boost by naming him in his starting XI for their Euro 2016 opener against the Czech Republic on Monday.

Gea was in contention with legendary fellow shot-stopper Iker Casillas to start for the defending champions in Toulouse in their Group D match.

Del Bosque’s selection, announced just before kick-off, was made tougher when reports claimed Manchester United ‘keeper De Gea organised a party at which two women were forced to have sex with two footballers.

De Gea has strongly denied the claims as “a lie” designed to damage his reputation and his start is likely to be seen as a show of support after what has been a controversy filled week for the 25-year-old.

Spain, who won the competition in 2008 and 2012, are looking to become the first team to win the title three times in succession but have included a number of fresh faces for this summer’s tournament.

Juventus striker Alvaro Morata leads the Spanish attack against Pavel Vrba’s men, flanked on either side by Celta Vigo winger Nolito, who is making his major finals debut, and David Silva of Manchester City on his 100th appearance.

Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets takes the central midfield role, where he will be capably assisted by club-mate Andres Iniesta and Chelsea’s Cesc Fabregas.

Czech captain Tomas Rosicky has played only 19 minutes for Arsenal due to injury last season but is fit and will lead the Czechs’ midfield while Arsenal goalkeeper Petr Cech is their last line of defence.

Spain (4-3-3)

David de Gea; Juanfran, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos (capt), Jordi Alba; Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; David Silva, Alvaro Morata, Nolito

Coach: Vincente del Bosque (ESP)

Czech Republic (4-2-3-1)

Petr Cech; Pavel Kaderabek, Tomas Sivok, Roman Hubnik, David Limbersky; Vladimir Darida, Jaroslav Plasil; Theodor Gebre Selassie, Tomas Rosicky, Ladislav Krejci; Tomas Necid

Coach: Pavel Vrba (CZE)

Referee: Szymon Marciniak (POL)




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