After having their 35-game unbeaten run was broken by defeat to the United States, many teams would have lost their rhythm and gone into a slump. The Spain of old would have responded in similar fashion. Instead, the current European Champions responded by scoring 47 goals in their next 15 games, and in the process, qualifying unbeaten for the World Cup. This team does not like the taste of defeat. They have talent all over the field and their midfield is second to none. Having finally ditched their reputation as perennial underachievers by winning Euro 2008, it will take a brave person to bet against Spain this time around in South Africa.
In the midfield area, Coach Vicente Del Bosque’s Spain are stronger than any other team in the competition. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Xavi (Barcelona) and David Silva (Valencia) are likely to be the starting quartet for the Spanish. Part of what makes that midfield so dangerous is that their positions on the field are interchangeable. Each player is as comfortable on the left as on the right and each will provide the opposition with a different problem to solve. Del Bosque also has Arsenal’s midfielder Cesc Fabregas on the bench if the team isn’t performing – a player who would be the first name on any team sheet that doesn’t include Xavi and Iniesta.
The starting strikers for Spain at South Africa 2010 will be Fernando Torres (Liverpool) and David Villa (Barcelona). Two of the fastest forwards in this year’s competition, Torres and Villa rely on their incredible movement and pace to make space for their scoring opportunities, and with the quality of Spain’s midfield players, you can expect some of Spain’s moves to be very difficult to stop. The key to Spain’s play is Andres Iniesta. Long an under-rated part of Barcelona’s team, Iniesta is now considered as important to the Catalan team as World Player of the Year, Leo Messi. If Iniesta has a good tournament and plays to the brilliant form that has helped Barcelona capture another La Liga title this season, Spain have an excellent chance of winning their first World Cup.
But that’s not to say there aren’t any weaknesses in Spain’s team. Defensively, Carlos Puyol, who has long been the lynchpin of the Spanish backline, is losing his pace and has had a difficult season in La Liga with Barcelona. Captain Puyol will need a lot of cover from younger international team-mates like Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and fellow Barcelona star Gerrard Pique. Teams with strong defenses, such as Brazil and Germany will likely be Spain’s biggest competition at South Africa 2010. If teams can somehow repel Spain’s attacking players, the Spanish defense is by no means water-tight.
Spain are considered one of the favorites at South Africa 2010. Any team including both Andres Iniesta and Xavi would be very strong. Add David Silva, Fernando Torres and David Villa and you have the ingredients for a goal-scoring machine, and a team that looks on track to win the World Cup for the first time in their history.
Spain World Cup Prediction: World Cup Winners
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