Del Bosque backs Torres
Vicente del Bosque has backed Fernando Torres in the build-up to Spain's clash with Portugal.
Last Updated: 27/06/10 3:59pm
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has played down Fernando Torres' below-par form at the World Cup.
Torres has yet to hit top form in South Africa after missing the majority of Spain's build-up to the summer finals due to knee surgery in April.
The Liverpool striker came off the bench in Spain's Group H opener against Switzerland but the 26-year-old has looked extremely rusty throughout the tournament and was substituted in the Honduras and Chile clashes.
Without a goal to his name, some critics have suggested the former Atletico Madrid performer should be dropped in place of Arsenal's talisman Cesc Fabregas but Del Bosque is happy with his number nine's contribution.
"What's important is that he's played in the three games and has progressed in his preparation," said the Spain coach.
"He's a player who even though he hasn't scored goals he benefits us as someone who makes it hard for opposing defences and who is always a threat to the other team. He's a very dangerous player."
Torres himself admits he is not yet back to full fitness, telling Radio Marca: "I'm still lacking a bit, it's not easy to return after an operation.
"I think I'm still a little away from being 100%, although I'm close."
Meanwhile, medical scans have shown that Spain defender Raul Albiol's leg injury is less serious than initially feared.
An MRI scan on Sunday showed the Real Madrid centre-back had strained ligaments around his right ankle and should be fit to play before the World Cup is over.
Albiol fell awkwardly during training on Saturday and had to be carried off the training field.
The former Valencia defender has been ruled out of Tuesday's last 16 match against Portugal at Cape Town's Green Point Stadium, but could be available later in the tournament should Spain advance.
Although he has yet to play at the World Cup, Albiol has made 22 appearances for Spain since his debut in 2007.