After years of underachievement and accusations of a weak squad mentality, Spain won the 2008 European Championships in Austria & Switzerland. They didn’t just win it, but claimed the trophy playing some of the most attractive soccer seen on the international stage in years.
What La Furia Roja (The Red Fury) lacked in height, they made up for in technical ability, and took their sublime form into the World Cup qualifiers where they were the only European nation to win 100% of their matches.
- Best World Cup Result: Fourth (1950)
- Best European Championship Result: Winners (1964 and 2008)
- Record Scorer: Raul Gonzalez (44 goals from 1996 to present)
- Most Capped Player: Andoni Zubizarreta (126 caps between 1985 and 1998)
- Coach: Vicente Del Bosque
- Captain: Iker Casillas
23-man Spain World Cup Squad:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Manuel 'Pepe' Reina (Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona)
Defenders: Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Carlos Marchena (Valencia), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Javier Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), David Silva (Valencia), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona)
Forwards: Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Juan Manuel Mata (Valencia), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (Liverpool), David Villa (Valencia)
Group Matches:Wednesday, June 16, 2010 v Switzerland
Monday, June 21, 2010 v Honduras
Friday, June 25, 2010 v Chile
Prediction: WinnersThe Spain World Cup juggernaut looks on track and they have never been better placed to win it. There is a distinct Latin feel to their group, but it is one they should negotiate with few problems. Chile and Honduras are not strong defensively and poacher supreme David Villa will surely take advantage. Their match with Chile should be a feast of football, but the chances are that Del Bosque’s men will be through to the next stage by then.
Awaiting them in the last-16 could be Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal who have been pitted in a tough group alongside Brazil, Ivory Coast and North Korea. With Spain strong favorites to top Group H, and Portugal a good shout to finish second behind Brazil in Group G, a mouth-watering encounter awaits.
Expect Spain to go all the way to the final. With no team possessing a more nimble, refined midfield, and few to match a strike partnership of Villa and Fernando Torres, it is not difficult to foresee them continuing their international dominance.
To find out more about the tournament, visit the World Cup section.