Spain v Georgia: Vazquez prepares for debut after rapid rise


Lucas Vazquez is set to make his Spain debut against Georgia in the country's final warm-up match before they attempt to defend their continental title at Euro 2016.

The Real Madrid attacker is uncapped, but has been named in Vicente del Bosque's final squad of 23 for the tournament in France as well as being handed the number nine shirt.

After a spell with Espanyol last season, Vazquez returned to Madrid - where he had risen through the youth ranks but never made a first-team appearance - last June.

Under a year later, the 24-year-old is a Champions League winner having come on and scored in the penalty shoot-out of the final against Atletico Madrid and is now in line to represent his country for the first time on Tuesday.

Spain won the Euros in 2008 and 2012 as well as the World Cup in 2010 and are hoping to return to form at major tournaments after crashing out of the group stages of the global event in Brazil two years ago.

Asked about his experiences watching Spain from a distance, Vazquez told Marca: "I saw both of them [Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010] in my village, Curtis. Everyone met in a bar and we celebrated with all my friends.

"There were major disappointments in the World Cup in 2002 and 2006 but I cried tears of happiness about South Africa.

"It is very good to be here but my first day was a bit chaotic. I am getting to know the people as there are many new faces and names, but I am gradually getting used to it."

Vazquez concedes that his rise to full international set-up seemed extremely unlikely even a few months ago. As of the start of March, he had only started three La Liga matches before establishing himself towards the end of the campaign.

"It didn't seem possible," he said. "[I found out when] I was doing recuperation work with Zinedine Zidane and his assistants. Alvaro Arbeloa came out of the dressing room, crying 'You've been selected, congratulations!' 

"I had not remembered that the preliminary list was coming out and asked him what he meant. He said: 'You're going with the squad'.

"I learned that my name was on the final list because the phone started ringing immediately and there were many messages.

"When you sign for Madrid you know there are chances to win titles and to go to France is a great reward."

The match will take place in Madrid, but at Getafe's stadium, with striker Alvaro Morata's fitness to be assessed after he missed Saturday's training session with a hamstring injury.

Del Bosque's men are in confident mood having beaten Bosnia-Herzegovina 3-1 and smashed South Korea 6-1 in their last two outings to respond impressively after draws against Italy and Romania in March.

Going further back, Spain - who are in Group D for the Euros along with Czech Republic, Turkey and Croatia - have not been beaten in 11 matches since their loss to Netherlands in March 2015. 

Georgia, on the other hand, are without a win in six matches. This will be their third game in succession against a team preparing for Euro 2016, but they will hope it goes better than their previous two outings - a 3-1 loss in Slovakia and a 5-1 reverse away to Romania.