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Spain duty a chance for Torres to find goals

Fernando Torres was given a medal of honour by his home town of Fuenlabrada on Tuesday for his sporting achievements but it is really goals and not awards the misfiring Spain striker is in need of right now.

sports Updated: Mar 24, 2011 02:55 IST

Fernando Torres was given a medal of honour by his home town of Fuenlabrada on Tuesday for his sporting achievements but it is really goals and not awards the misfiring Spain striker is in need of right now.

He failed to find the net during the World Cup in South Africa last year and has scored only two goals for the world and European champions since, a double against lowly Liechtenstein in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Vaduz in September.

The 27-year-old, joint fifth on the list of Spain's leading scorers with 26 goals, has also been struggling for form at his new club Chelsea, failing to open his account in seven appearances since joining from Liverpool in January.

Torres has a chance to get back among the goals when Spain play their Euro 2012 qualifiers against Czech Republic in Granada on Friday and Lithuania in Kaunas four days later as the Group I leaders look to take a big step towards securing their place at the finals in Poland and Ukraine next year.

"The difficult thing is to learn to win at the national level," Torres told reporters in Fuenlabrada near Madrid on Tuesday.

"A lot of the time when you are successful you ease off but luckily there is an aim, which is to win consecutive European, world and European championships," he added.

"Nobody has ever achieved that. What we want to do is make history, it's what we have in mind and winning these next two games would almost put us in the finals."

He said he was not worried by his goal drought at club level.

"As in all things it takes time at the start but I am satisfied because the team (Chelsea) is winning," he said.

"I am waiting for the first goal, like all Chelsea fans, with desire but not with anxiety."

New faces
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque is missing injured trio Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas and Pedro for the two qualifiers and has brought in forward Juan Mata, midfielder Javi Martinez and defender Andoni Iraola as cover.

Striker David Villa has another chance to become Spain's leading scorer in his own right. He is level with Raul on 44 goals, although he has played 71 times for his country compared to the former Real Madrid forward's 102 games.

Czech coach Michal Bilek included two new faces in his squad for Friday's match and the qualifier at home to Liechtenstein on March 29.

Forward Libor Kozak has been in decent form for Lazio this season, while goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik plays in the country's second division for FC Viktoria Zizkov.

Bilek also selected David Lafata, who has hit two hat-tricks for FK Jablonec in their first three league matches since the winter break, and the experienced Milan Baros returns having last featured in September against Lithuania.

The coach said Spain were the world's best team but were not invincible, as friendly defeats to Argentina and Portugal in the second half of last year and the 1-0 loss to Switzerland at the World Cup proved.

"They are beatable from time to time, it is possible to achieve a reasonable result against them," Bilek said at a news conference on Monday.

"We need to tighten up the space in our own half and make it impossible for their key players to pass the ball. We will aim for quick counter-attacks after winning possession."

Probable teams:

Spain: Iker Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Carlos Marchena, Joan Capdevila; Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; David Villa, Fernando Torres.

Czech Republic: Petr Cech; Zdenek Pospech, Roman Hubnik, Tomas Sivok, Michal Kadlek; Jan Polak, Tomas Huebschman, Tomas Rosicky, Jaroslav Plasil, Adam Hlousek; Milan Baros.