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Four Reasons Why Spain Can Make It Four From four In Brazil

Thursday 10th April 2014
Spain's 2014 World Cup credentials were ruthlessly written off by many critics following their comprehensive 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the 2013 Confederations Cup final, however, it would be ridiculous to rule out the chances of a team not only brimming with talent, but one that has won three major tournaments on the spin; Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup, and Euro 2012.

This summer, ‘La Furia Roja' are without question one of the major contenders for glory, as they bid to become only the third country in history to win back-to-back World Cups, and the first since Brazil (1958 & 1962). No team from Europe has ever hoisted the famous golden trophy in South America but Vicente del Bosque's men, who top the FIFA Rankings, could well have the talent, experience, and nerve to end that trend, defy their critics and finish as the last team standing in Brazil.

#1 They've a World Class Manager

Vicente del Bosque has a 100% success rate at major tournaments having won both the 2010 World Cup followed by Euro 2012 since succeeding Luis Aragonés in Euro 2008, after Spain hoisted the European Championship trophy for the first time. The former Real Madrid boss now has hopes of leading Spain to back-to-back World Cups and will be expected to succeed by a nation that has become accustomed to success. The astute tactician undoubtedly has a number of important decisions to make concerning who makes his final squad and what formation to employ but his stunning record means that the nation are in reliable and experienced hands to defend their crown.

#2 They've a World Class Squad

Spain have world class players in all positions, especially in midfield where they are blessed with a plethora of exceptional players. Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, Xabi Alonso, Juan Mata, David Silva, Javi Martinez, Santi Cazorla are all jostling for positions, while the likes of Isco, Asier Illarramendi and Thiago Alcantara can't be ruled out. The fact that Man Utd's record signing, Juan Mata, couldn't even get in Spain's most recent squad against Italy is pretty telling!

Captain Iker Casillas is pretty much nailed on for the number one jersey, while Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina provide reliable cover. Del Bosque likes to employ a 4-3-3 formation, with this system pairing together the solid defensive duo of Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique, who are flanked by Jordi Alba and Alvaro Arbeloa, with both fullbacks encouraged to fly forward whenever possible. Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso are likely to occupy the three midfield positions although, as previously mentioned, there is stiff competition in this area of the field.

Spain are also spoilt for choice in attack. The recent acquisition of Diego Costa (who chose Spain over Brazil) was a major coup, with the in-form Atletico Madrid striker fighting it out with Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Soldado, David Villa, and Fernando Llorente for the number nine role. Meanwhile David Villa, Cesc Fabregas, Jesus Navas and Pedro will be battling it out for the spots either side of the main frontman.

However, it's not known whether Del Bosque will start with a recognised striker, as he has previously favoured a false nine, which has been occupied by the likes of Fabregas and Silva. Ultimately form and fitness will be crucial in Del Bosque's squad selection but given the amount of superstars, expect some big name casualties, with the likes of Mata, Torres, Villa all sweating.

#3 They've got the Style

Pass, pass, pass and pass again. Simply put, this is what Spain do so well, much to the delight of their supporters and fury of the opposition. They are frustratingly difficult to get the ball off and on the rare occasion they do give away possession, their frantic and inexhaustible determination to win it back is simply exceptional. Their ‘tika-taka' philosophy sees Spain dominate possession but, as their defeat in last year's Confederation's Cup showed, at times they need to alter their style and be more direct. However, it provides a solid foundation, is tried and tested in tournament football and they will win more than they lose as a result.

#4 Group B Provides a Tough but Perfect Start

Despite being the favourites to progress out of Group B, Spain will secretly be anxious about the draw having been placed in a tricky group containing 2010 runners-up Netherlands, an exciting Chile side, and underdogs Australia, who simply have nothing to lose in South America. It is arguably this year's “Group of Death”, with Spain, Holland and Chile likely to contest for the top-2 spots. Spain will no doubt be desperate to finish top as whoever finishes second is more than likely to face hosts Brazil in the last-16. If Spain can emerge unscathed from this tough group, they will not fear anyone in the remaining three games to the final and final to itself and topping the group will instil the players with the required confidence to go all the way.
Jack Kitson
Massive Southampton fan, loving being back in the Premier League but cannot get enough football to feed my addiction.

Total articles: 53

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