A decade after profitable their final main title, Spain enter this winter’s World Cup with their eyes on the prize.
Spain’s victory at Euro 2012 capped off a outstanding three-peat of trophy wins, which took within the 2008 European championship – their first triumph since 1964 – and the 2010 World Cup, the place a golden technology secured the nation’s first world title.
La Roja then disenchanted in 2014, nonetheless, succumbing to the latest world title-defence curse of exiting the subsequent World Cup within the group stage, earlier than placing in underwhelming efforts at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup to bow out within the final 16 on each events.
Immediately after the 2018 world championship in Russia, former Spain midfielder Luis Enrique took cost of the nationwide group, although he took a four-month hiatus in 2019 due to private causes. The former Barcelona coach returned in time to construct in direction of final summer season’s Euros, the place Spain certified second from their group – behind Sweden – and barely beat Croatia and Switzerland to attain the semi-finals.
There, nonetheless, issues lastly got here collectively for Luis Enrique’s facet as they produced a advantageous efficiency in a basic with Italy, finally shedding to the soon-to-be champions on penalties. Can they go a few steps additional in Qatar to return to the summit of worldwide soccer? We’ll quickly discover out, as they go up in opposition to Germany, Costa Rica and Japan in Group E.
Here is the whole lot you want to know:
Group fixtures (all instances GMT)
Wednesday 23 November: Spain vs Costa Rica – 19:00
Sunday 27 November: Spain vs Germany – 22:00
Thursday 1 December: Japan vs Spain – 22:00
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Club), Robert Sanchez (Brighton), David Raya (Brentford)
Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodrigo (Manchester City), Gavi (Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Valencia), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid), Pedri (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Yeremy Pino (Villarreal), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (PSG), Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Ansu Fati (Barcelona)
Ones to watch
Star –Pedri: The Barcelona midfielder, who turns 20 through the group stage of this World Cup, nearly needs to be a ‘breakout talent’, however he featured closely for Spain finally summer season’s Euros, the place he even made the group of the event. Pedri has glorious ball management and is nimble in possession, with an ideal skill to unlock opposition defences. Look for him to take accountability regardless of his youth and be a key a part of any success Spain have.
Breakout expertise – Nico Williams: The Liberian-born 20-year-old made his senior debut for Spain throughout September’s Nations League fixtures, taking part in twice and recording an help. The Athletic Bilbao winger was a substitute in each of these video games so is probably not a starter for Luis Enrique but, but when he’s supplied sufficient of a platform, he ought to exhibit glimpses of the thrilling play that has made him one to watch in La Liga thus far this season.
Expectations are excessive for Spain. Alongside Brazil, they’re probably the most favoured groups, largely due to their possession-heavy method and what needs to be a complementary local weather in Qatar. However, the mentality of latest Spain squads has left a good bit to want, and whether or not or not this set of gamers can maintain their nerve in key moments may resolve their destiny. It is tempting to say they’ll battle to cope with adversity and will bow out before many are predicting. Defeated within the quarter-finals.