World Cup Preview Spain
Spain have been handed a comfortable group draw coming up against Morocco and Iran, neither of which have ever made it past the 2nd round in the history of the World Cup. A mouth-watering tie against Euro 2016 champions Portugal is first up, however. The winner of this opening game should decide who tops the group and with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the Portuguese side, this will be no easy match for Julen Lopetegui’s men.
Whatever happens against Portugal, this year’s World Cup will surely go better for the Spaniards than 2014 where they crashed out losing 5-1 to Netherlands and 2-0 to Chile in their first 2 group games.
15th June: Portugal vs Spain
20th June: Iran vs Spain
25th June: Spain vs Morocco
Recent friendlies against Tunisia and Switzerland haven’t been too convincing for Spain, as they limped to a late 1-0 victory over Tunisia and drew 1-1 with the Swiss side. However, they did impress back in March hammering Argentina 6-1 and gaining a 1-1 draw with current World Champions Germany. Spain did qualify with ease winning 9 and drawing 1 in their 10 group games including a highly impressive 3-0 victory over Italy with Real Madrid midfielder Isco playing a starring role.
Goalkeepers: David De Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa (Athletic Bilbao)
Defenders: Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Odriozola (Real Sociedad), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nacho (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Saul Niguez (Atletico Madrid), Isco (Real Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Lucas Vazquez (Real Madrid)
Forwards: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Rodrigo (Valencia), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
With the group they have been handed, Spain should have no troubles making it through to the knockout stages. Going through to the 2nd round they will likely come up against Russia, Uruguay or Egypt. Uruguay may be tricky but none of those sides should worry Spain. Spain also has the bonus (should they top the group) of being on the opposite side of the draw to one of the tournament favourites, Brazil.
Potential ties further into the tournament include a likely quarter-final against Argentina and a semi-final against the other pre-tournament favourites Germany. Tough contests but I do believe Spain have the best goalkeeper in the world, arguably the best midfield in the tournament and if they perform as I expect them to, I believe Spain will make the final.
Final. 11/4 (SkyBet)
– Robert Shiers