Spain are really the team to beat. Wins at Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012 plus the fact that two of their teams hold the Champions League and Europa League tells you all you need to know – they are the best in the world, currently. How will they fare in the conditions our there? Who knows! In the meantime, here is our Preview on them:
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina, David De Gea
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Raul Albiol, Cesar Azpilicueta, Juanfran, Jordi Alba
Midfielders: Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Santi Cazorla, Koke, Javi Martinez
Forwards: David Silva, Diego Costa, Fernando Torres, Pedro, Juan Mata, David Villa
Spain were placed in the Group with just 5 teams – France, Iceland, Belarus and Georgia, hardly the most challenging, but still they had to go out there and do their duty. 6 wins and 2 draws saw them qualify top of the group and unbeaten. They did struggle to break some teams down, drawing 1-1 with Finland as well as with France, but bar those two hiccups they were all good!
Ones to Watch:
Sergio Ramos – Ramos was in sparkling form towards the end of the season, scoring over 5 goals in the final 6 or 7 games, including the equalizer in the Champions League final. This is Spain’s first tournament without Carles Puyol, Ramos should be partnered by Gerard Pique – lets see how they fair together after being the greatest of enemies all season.
Andres Iniesta – along with Xavi, Andres is getting on a bit now, but still posses great qualities. He must be at his best to help Spain to control games, and is pivotal in their chances.
Diego Costa – after switching aliegences from Brazil (although I doubt they would have picked him) – Costa is Spains’ main man. Torres is unreliable, and Villa is the only other option, and he is getting on a bit – but could be a brilliant partner if picked, since they are team mates at Atletico Madrid. Costa will know the conditions all too well, and that could be an edge for Spain as most other teams do not have experience in extremely hot weather (especially England). A superb goal-scorer – his fitness will hopefully be better than what it was in the final two games, where he started and promptly walked off limping.
(4-3-3): Casillas, Azpilicueta, Pique, Ramos, Alba, Xavi, iniesta, Fabregas, Silva, Costa, Villa.
We feel Mata will not start as he is not a winger – Villa is used often in the left wing position at Madrid. However, we could be wrong. It’s a toss-up really. The midfield three is solid – you have Martinez, Xabi Alonso etc but Xavi, Iniesta and Fabregas are proven time and time again that they know how it’s done – and all play for Barcelona so will know each other inside out.
They have taken a risk only taking 6 defenders – although Albiol is capable at Right back as well as centre back, and Juanfran covers the left back if Alba gets injured. An all-round great squad in our eyes.
Winner – 6/1
Group Win – 8/11
To Qualify – 1/6
Round of Elimination: Semi Final – 9/2
Over 6.5 Group Points – Evens
In my opinion – they will win the group easily, despite having challenging opponents in Chile and Holland. However, I also think they will fall in the Semi-Final, as I do think a South American team will win the competition. Our Top Tip for Spain is Group Winner at 8/11 and Over 6.5 Group Points at Evens.