Torres ready to lift Spain after loss

POTCHEFSTROOM - Striker Fernando Torres has recovered fitness after knee surgery and is ready to play a full match for Spain as they seek to get their World Cup back on track against Honduras on Monday.

Coach Vicente del Bosque left Torres on the bench in Wednesday's surprise loss to Switzerland in Spain's Group H opener but he looked strong and hungry for goals after he was thrown into the fray with around half an hour remaining.

"I have been training at the same pace as my team mates for two weeks now, putting the injury behind me so that I can be available for the coach," Torres said at a news conference on Saturday at Spain's training base in Potchefstroom.

"We are all ready to take to the pitch and give our all and if I am in the starting 11 then great but if not I will wait for my chance."

With Torres firing on all cylinders, Del Bosque may opt to play him in a two-pronged attack with strike partner David Villa against the Hondurans, considered the weakest team in a group that also contains Chile.

UNDER FIRE

Del Bosque came under fire after the defeat to Switzerland, with his predecessor Luis Aragones, among others, suggesting the 4-5-1 formation Spain deployed, with Villa as a lone striker, was too cautious.

Torres said it would be wrong for European champions Spain to tinker too much with a formula that had helped them win all 10 of their World Cup qualifiers and set them up as favourites for the month-long tournament in South Africa.

"It's important for us to remain faithful to our playing style, not go mad and change things around too much and trust in what has made us one of the favourites," he said.

"Spain always wants possession of the ball and we have to exploit the talents that our players have, beyond any particular system," he added. "The style of this team is marked out by the midfielders, who are our heart and soul."

Torres has been by far the most popular member of the Spain squad among local fans in Potchefstroom, a status he said was partly down to the fact that he plays for Liverpool.

"Liverpool has a lot of fans around the world, which is why we have felt popular and well-supported," the 26-year-old said.

"South Africa look like they are struggling to get through the group phase and if they get eliminated hopefully the fans here will support Spain instead."

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