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Team by Team Preview: Spain

SPAIN!

You can't play in this one. Go home.

Well, this one is going to have to be extremely short. Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Manuel 'Pepe' Reina (Liverpool), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).

Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (Valencia), Raul Albiol (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao).

Midfielders: Xavi (Barcelona), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Santi Cazorla (Malaga), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Chelsea)

Forwards: Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Pedro (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic Bilbao), Fernando Torres (Chelsea), Alvaro Negredo (Sevilla)

Group C

(You can click on the nation to see the previous posts)

Spain

Italy

Ireland

Croatia

History

Spain had been perennial underachievers. They had won just one European Championship. All that changed in 2008 when they won it again to become the number one nation in the world. They then won the World Cup, losing only to the US in the Confederations Cup and Switzerland in the World Cup group stage all this time. Now, in 2012, Spain looks a little bit more beatable. England beat them. Holland beat them. But they still inspire terror. La Roja Furia (Red Fury) now wield the possession style called tiki taka that has become the scourge of most any team.

The Team

Del Bosque has been with this side since right before the 2008 triumph. Spain had a perfect qualification. Spain has a heavy midfield presence. Many of their players come from the Barcelona side that has championed this style. They starve the opponent to defeat. However, teams have shown that heavy defense and some negative football will break the Spain sides. Spain also lacks the strikers presence, with David Villa injured and Torres being only slightly better than he has been.

Key Players

Casillas

Best goalkeeper in the world. Spain also has the best depth with Reina and Valdes in the squad. Casillas is also the captain.

Xavi

He was the player that defined the team and the tournament four years ago. Expect that from the midfielder again.

Fabregas

Thanks to his time at Arsenal, the Catalan is a bit more flexible than many of the other midfielders. He once came into the side off the bench to great effect. He made the pass that led to the World Cup winning goal. Now, you can expect him to start, though where is a question. If Spain wish to forego Torres, expect Fabregas to fill in. That would effectively make a 4-6-0, something that Barcelona experimented with by filling Fabregas in the same place as Spain would.

Euro 2012 Chances

I'd say pretty good. They have to get past Italy, Croatia, and Ireland. After that, they will have Sweden, France, England, or Ukraine in the first knockout round. However, it should be noted that Spain has been beaten by some sides in the past few months. Barcelona also failed to win the Champion's League or La Liga. Perhaps, the players have grown complacent with winning everything? (Except for Messi, he hasn't won anything except with his club).

Prediction

I think Spain are an extremely good squad. But they are missing a lot of important pieces and I think they have grown a bit complacent. Where they lose, I don't know. But I'm going to say Finals because they are that good.

Last Post: Portugal

Next Post: France

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