Best: Winners 2010
Group: B (vs.Netherlands, Chile, Australia)
Coach: Vincente del Bosque
The Spanish National Team is currently ranked numero uno in the FIFA World Rankings. They are overwhelming favourites to win. While Brazil and Argentina have the continental advantage, Spain along with Germany are the two strongest European teams. Although we should remember that no non-South American team has ever won on their continent. They also face a tough group. The Netherlands will be baying for their blood and Chile can surprise. But lets not forget that Spain currently hold the World Cup, European Cup and Spanish teams have won the Champions League and Europa League. If thats not an indication that they are undoubtedly the best at the moment then I don’t know what is.
Man To Watch:
Diego Costa. With 36 Goals for Atletico Madrid this season, the Brazilian born helped the second Madrid team to the league title. He seems to have a telepathic on-field relationship with club and national team mate Koke, which Del Boaque will want to exploit. He holds dual citizenship and opted to play for Spain late last year, causing a bit of an uproar in his homeland. Will he be the central striker that Spain has so long needed? Having played the “false 9” for many years, Costa comes as a breath of fresh air to the Spanish side, his more physical play will be in stark contrast to Spain’s Tiki-Taka style. He however sustained a hamstring injury. So lets hope he will win the race to fitness before kick-off in Brazil otherwise Spain will be stuck with the ballerina, Torres.
Before us Spain fans get too excited, lets not forget that this team is much of the same team that won the tournament 4 years ago (arguably the best international side ever – 3 back to back tournaments), and while there is young talent, fact remains that the core of this squad is somewhat aging. They also did not look their confident selves in the Confederations Cup last year and were thoroughly dominated by Brazil. Also, most teams now anticipate Spain’s Tiki-taka style of playing, and are usually well prepared for it. And the biggest problem factor will be exhaustion, with Altetico Madrid’s and Real Madrid’s final games running late into the season.
So can they do it?
It will be considered an upset should the defending World Champions not make the final.
The Preliminary SQUAD:
(7 from this squad will be cut to make the final 23)
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David de Gea (Manchester United)
Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azplicueta (Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Alberto Moreno (Sevilla)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez(Barcelona), Andres Iniesta(Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Bilbao), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Tiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Jesus Navas ( Manchester City)
Attackers: Diego Costa(Atletico Madrid), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Negredo( Manchester City), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Juventus), Fernando Torres (Chelsea)