In the Spain: Euro 2016 team preview, we look at the team’s schedule and squad, predicting how far they’ll advance in the competition as well as highlighting the players to watch out for.

Spain: Euro 2016 team preview:

Manager: Vicente del Bosque

Captain: Iker Casillas

Spain: Euro 2016 team preview: Fixtures:

Monday, June 13

Spain vs. Czech Republic, 9am, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Sling TV, Sling Latino and WatchESPN (tickets)

Friday, June 17

Spain vs. Turkey, 3pm, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Sling TV, Sling Latino and WatchESPN (tickets)

Tuesday, June 21

Croatia vs. Spain, 3pm, ESPN, ESPN Deportes, Sling TV, Sling Latino and WatchESPN (tickets)

SEE MORE: Schedule of Euro 2016 games on US TV and streaming

Spain: Euro 2016 team preview: Squad:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto), David De Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid).

Midfielders: Bruno (Villarreal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Manchester City), Pedro (Chelsea), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)

Forwards: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Lucas Vasquez (Real Madrid)

Spain: Euro 2016 team preview

Spain: Euro 2016 team preview: Overview:

Reigning champions Spain can make history this summer, as they seek to win their continental competition for the third consecutive edition. But all the signs point towards a team who will have things much tougher in France than they did four years ago.

After all, La Roja, then world champions, coasted to victory in 2012, playing the kind of precise and purposeful football that defined the generation. Much has changed since that tournament, though, with a torrid defence of their world crown and some vital figures in the setup walking away from international football.

Despite their transitional phase Del Bosque’s squad is still the strongest in the tournament in terms of depth. The likes of Juan Mata, Diego Costa, Santi Cazorla and a rejuvenated Fernando Torres have not made the cut this summer, something that says plenty about the talent available to the manager. It means Spain, once again, will be a force to be reckoned with.

Still, doubts do linger. It’s going to be curious to see whether Del Bosque opts for fading skipper Casillas in goal or David De Gea, who has become one of the world’s best. At the other end of the pitch, the manager also has a decision to make, not only on the forward he will play, but whether or not he uses one at all.

But much of the components from which their success was forged are still in place. Andres Iniesta seems to save his best for the major tournaments, while Sergio Busquets has arguably enjoyed the best season of his career at Barcelona. While they may not be great mates, Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos were outstanding in qualifying as a centre-back duo, with eight clean sheets in their last eight games.

No David Villa or Torres means goals could be tough to come by, but the midfield talent in this team means they can smother opponents, meticulously probe and eventually find a way through. Plus, intertwined with a few newer faces—including Aritz Aduriz, Nolito and Saul Niguez—there is a core of players who know what’s required to get by under the pressure of a major tournament.

Spain: Euro 2016 team preview: Key Player:

Sergio Busquets – With no Xavi or Xabi Alonso in midfield, there will be a huge responsibility on Busquets to keep things ticking for La Roja from a withdrawn position.

It’s a role he’s conducted with distinction this year in La Liga. The 27-year-old has been the unsung hero behind the dominance of the Blaugrana, so calm in what can so often be frantic midfield battles. His composure, awareness of space and accuracy of passing make him a unique influence.

With no Alonso alongside him, an axis Del Bosque relied upon in the last two major tournaments, there will be an increased defensive onus on him, a side to Busquets’ game that’s often unheralded. He’s one of the senior men in this side now too and with some younger players coming in, they’ll look to him to set the tempo with his incomparable elegance.

Spain: Euro 2016 team preview: Verdict:

Runners Up – Qualifying was far from ideal and Spain have been playing functional rather than fluid football as of late. Still, the nucleus of a team of serial winners is there and with the likes of Isco, Thiago and Koke offering something different in the final third, expect La Roja to go very close to a successful defence of their European crown.

Spain home jersey

spain-home-jersey-euro-2016

Spain is defending back to back champion, owning European Championship trophies from 2008 and 2012. With a hugely successful veteran squad, Spain has won numerous continental titles and a 2010 World Cup. This group is considered one of the best international teams to ever play the game. The jersey has a more relaxed fit than the authentic version, ventilated climacool to keep you cool and dry, and it is 100% polyester. Out of all of the Euro 2016 jerseys, this one is one of the cleanest and boldest designs.

Find out how to order the Spain home jersey today.

Spain away jersey

spain-away-jersey-euro-2016

Spain is defending back to back champion, owning European Championship trophies from 2008 and 2012. With a hugely successful veteran squad, Spain has won numerous continental titles and a 2010 World Cup. This group is considered one of the best international teams to ever play the game. The jersey has a more relaxed fit than the authentic version, it has ventilated climacool to keep you cool and dry, and it is 100% polyester.

Find out how to order the Spain away jersey today.

Euro 2016 team previews

• Albania team preview
• Austria team preview
• Belgium team preview
• Croatia team preview
• Czech Republic team preview
• England team preview
• France team preview
• Germany team preview
• Hungary team preview
• Iceland team preview
• Italy team preview
• Northern Ireland team preview
• Poland team preview
• Portugal team preview
• Republic of Ireland team preview
• Romania team preview
• Russia team preview
• Slovakia team preview
• Spain team preview
• Sweden team preview
• Switzerland team preview
• Turkey team preview
• Ukraine team preview
• Wales team preview

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