Analysing Spain’s chances at the World Cup

Luis Enrique says La Roja were inspired by the fans at Riazor during their 5-0 rout of Iceland

Spain remains one of international football’s heavyweights, having won the World Cup as recently as 2010, and will certainly be one of the favourites going into this year’s tournament in Qatar. 

The Spaniards have a balance of youth, peppered with more experienced players, one of which formed part of the winning squad in 2010. 

Sergio Busquets has made the squad, and was a major part of the conquering the biggest stage already, which should be an enormous boost to the team in Qatar. Gerard Pique was another member of the 2010 World Cup winning squad, and had made the longlist for selection, but announced his retirement before the final squad was announced.

In the betting markets, Spain are the fifth favourite marginally trailing England, you can take your chances with the best Canada World Cup odds available at Bodog where Spain is offered at 9/1. Brazil are the outright favourite at 4/1 and will be tough to beat, but La Roja is certainly in with a chance this winter. 

The key players 

Exiled David de Gea, will not even be part of the squad and so Athletic Club de Bilbao’s Unai Simon will be crucial in goal. 

Marcos Llorente is one of Spain’s key players after forging a solid reputation at Atletico Madrid following his Real Madrid departure a few years ago. 

Llorente is incredibly versatile, being able to play several midfield roles as well as a fullback or in attack; his energy and tenacity mean he can adapt to playing almost any role on the pitch. 

His mentality to win by any means necessary will be huge for Spain’s chances at the World Cup and he will also be a huge help to the national team’s more inexperienced stars, as Llorente has produced several top performances in the UEFA Champions League at intimidating away atmospheres. 

Elsewhere in midfield Manchester City’s Rodri will be vital to Spain’s efforts to reach the latter stages. Rodri is an out-and-out midfield destroyer as well as a deep-lying playmaker, moulded into one single player, he may be used alongside Busquets or instead of him. Further forward, Pedri’s vision and intuition allow him to play defence-splitting passes in an instant. 

Both Rodri and Busquets are also hugely experienced in winning time and time again, boasting several domestic cups across Europe between them, as well as Premier League and La Liga titles, and of course Champions League titles in the Barcelona player’s case. 

Alvaro Morata and Marco Asensio will be part of the attack, with extra responsibility as the most experienced forwards in terms of international caps. Morata has struggled for consistency and composure in front of goal throughout his career. Still, his off-the-ball movement is world class and he is an absolute chance magnet. With a talented midfield behind him, he might look more accomplished than at club level this season. 

Recent form 

Spain topped their UEFA Nations League group this year, only losing a single game which came at home to Switzerland. 

Their most recent fixture was an impressive away victory in Portugal, which has set the Spaniards up strongly and confidence will be high heading into the World Cup. Spain should have no problem navigating a group containing Germany, Costa Rica and Japan; the question is whether they can beat the Germans to the top spot, which could have a huge effect on their tournament path. 

Avoiding the likes of Argentina, Brazil and France until the latter stages will be absolutely vital to their hopes as beating the top seeds back-to-back may be a stretch too far. 

If Spain can be afforded some fortune in their opponents, perhaps until the semi-finals, then anything could happen from there onwards, and they could possibly be crowned world champions once again. 

Source by Football Espana

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