We’ve written this Spain Preview: World Cup 2018 to share our insight about La Furia Roja — their strengths and weaknesses, likely starting lineup, the 23-man squad and much more.
Spain Preview: World Cup 2018
Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga
Defenders: Jordi Alba, Nacho Monreal, Alvaro Odriozola, Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Cesar Azpilicueta
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Isco, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Saul Niguez, Koke, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez
Forwards: Iago Aspas, Diego Costa, Rodrigo Moreno
- Manager: Julen Lopetegui
- Captain: Sergio Ramos
- Best Finish: Winners (2010)
Likely starting lineup
While we knew Spain’s dominance would never last forever, few would’ve anticipated their 2014 World Cup going quite so badly. The world champions were hammered by the Netherlands and Chile, and crashed out of the group stage.
They weren’t at their best at the previous Euros either, but since then it feels as though Spain have made massive strides. Now they are bonafide challengers for the world title again.
In a warmup friendly against Argentina they produced a performance that would’ve made the rest of the world sit up and take notice. La Roja tore into their illustrious opponents in front of a raucous Madrid crowd in a 6-1 mauling. If there was any doubt lingering, that night, Spain showed they’re back at full force.
The squad is arguably the most impressive at the tournament with world-class operators in all areas of the pitch. David De Gea is one of the world’s best goalkeeper and Sergio Ramos is the game’s best leader. Finally, the midfield options available to Lopetegui outstrip those of any coach heading to Russia this summer.
It’s in the final third where the coach has some big decisions to make. While he’s taken three out-and-out centre-forwards to the World Cup, there will be a temptation to play with a false nine. A role Isco and Marco Asensio have both occupied at times. Diego Costa, Iago Aspas and Rodrigo are all fine options to lead the line, though.
Where Spain fell down four years ago was a lack of energy in midfield and poor penetration with the ball. Players like Saul, who is a bundle of bustle in the middle, and the effervescent Asensio out wide appear to be antidotes to those issues.
As a result, weaknesses are hard to identify. If Spain play their football their way, there may not be a team in the competition equipped to stop them.
Key Man – David Silva
You wouldn’t be too surprised if Silva made it to the next World Cup. Although, you feel as though the midfielder has reached his zenith going into this tournament at 36 years old.
For Manchester City he’s enjoyed a phenomenal campaign, shining alongside Kevin De Bruyne in the most dominant team of the Premier League era. Silva’s game has been modified under Pep Guardiola, making him more involved in general play; the men in sky blue have danced to his tune this term.
With the national team, Lopetegui has used Silva a little differently, typically from the right flank where he has license to roam. It’s a position the playmaker has relished and in his last 14 games for Spain the City star has been on the scoresheet nine times.
Having a footballer available like Silva must be a joy for his fellow players, as he receive the ball in tight spaces, moves it quickly and evades defenders with astute body shifts. Factor in he’s now a goalscorer too, and Spain may have one of the most complete players in the tournament at their disposal.
Spain Group Stage fixtures
Friday, June 15
Wednesday, June 20
Monday, June 25
Spain’s path to the final
If Spain wins Group B, their Round of 16 game will be against the country that finishes second from Group A which will either be Russia, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia or Egypt. If Spain wins that Round of 16 game, Spain will enter the quarterfinal stage with a game against the winner of Group D (Argentina, Iceland, Nigeria or Croatia) versus the team that finishes second in Group C (either France, Australia, Peru or Denmark). If Spain advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the F1 vs. E2 versus H1 vs. G2 series.
If Spain finishes second in Group B, Spain will play the team that finishes first in Group A (either Russia, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay or Egypt). If Spain wins that game, it would be in the quarterfinal against whoever is victorious between the winner of Group C (either France, Australia, Peru or Denmark) and the team that finishes second in Group D (either Argentina, Iceland, Croatia or Nigeria). If Spain advances to the semi-final stage, it’ll play the winner of the quarterfinal that comes out of the E1 vs. F2 versus G1 vs. H2 series.
Spain World Cup shirt (home)
Spain & adidas have debuted their new home jersey for 2018. The jersey features a dynamic line graphic made of red, yellow and blue diamonds down the right-hand side. The colors of the jersey represent speed, energy and style of play that have become the national team’s trademark. It pays homage to one of La Roja’s most famous shirts, the jersey worn at the 1994 World Cup in the USA. The embroidered adidas logo has been moved to the center chest, as it was in 1994. The yellow adidas stripes on the shoulders round out the look.
Spain World Cup shirt (away)
This jersey is clad in the light blue away colors worn by some of the most successful sides in Spain soccer history. A version of the team’s current away jersey, it has sweat-wicking Climalite and a slightly looser cut for fan comfort. adidas is dedicated to creating products in ways that minimize their environmental impact. This jersey is made with recycled polyester to save resources and decrease emissions.
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