Iniesta escapes serious injury

MADRID - Favourites Spain flew out to South Africa on Thursday lifted by the news that Andres Iniesta's thigh injury was not serious and that he could play in their World Cup opener.

The important midfielder had a scan on his right thigh on Wednesday, after pulling up in Spain's 6-0 warm up victory over Poland the previous day, but there was no sign of a tear only a slight swelling in the muscle.

"I've spoken to him and he's in good spirits," Barcelona team-mate Xavi told reporters after the European champions ranked second in the world but marginal bookies favourites to win the World Cup returned from a day off.

"He doesn't have a serious injury and that's fantastic news."

Iniesta has had a string of thigh muscle problems which have prevented him from playing regularly for his club or country over the last year, which raised the alarm bells when he had to be substituted on Tuesday.

The Spanish football federation refused to name a fixed recovery period for the player but have not ruled him out of their Group H opener against Switzerland on June 16.

Vicente del Bosque's side have won all three warm-up games, but Xavi was keen to sound a note of caution.

"Chile are very tough, they have a great coach, good players and have a lot of technical ability," he said.

"Honduras are more physical and have some very tall players, while Switzerland are a combination of physical strength and technical ability."

The Spanish playmaker said the side had not rested on their laurels after winning Euro 2008 and that Del Bosque had built on and developed the team that Luis Aragones handed over.

"People say Del Bosque hasn't changed much but he has brought in some new tactical variations, knows how to create a team spirit, and is a magnificent person to drive the group forward."

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