Can Spain go all the way at Russia 2018?
The 2018 World Cup in Russia is now less than a month away and Spain are heading into the finals in good shape, still with a La Liga side to compete in the Champions League final this month.
La Furia Roja were humiliated in Brazil four years ago as the first nation eliminated and after only two group games. This was only four years after they won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa too.
However, Julen Lopetegui has put together a good team who came through qualifying with no problems and recently hammered Argentina 6-1 in a pre-World Cup friendly.
Between the posts is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world right now and the 2017-18 Premier League Golden Glove winner, David de Gea. The Manchester United shot stopper continues to pull off outstanding save, one after another, and recently admitted this was his best season. What a time to be in your best form heading into the World Cup.
Defensively Spain have a lot of talent and experience in the middle with Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos and Barcelona’s Gerard Pique working well together at international level. Jordi Alba bombs forward from left-back, and although Spain are not settled on a right-back, Chelsea’s César Azpilicueta is among the best in the world in this position.
Sergio Busquets is one of the best holding midfielders in the world. The Barcelona man wins the ball back time and time again and plays the simple game of laying the ball off to the creative players in front of him. This summer that include club teammate Andrés Iniesta, Manchester City’s David Silva, Atlético Madrid’s Koke or Real Madrid’s Isco. Spain have an abundance of talent here.
Spain didn’t have a proven international striker four years ago and it could be another problem for them in Russia this time around too. However, Atléti‘s Diego Costa is more experienced now and found some type of form when returning to the Spanish capital in January. Chelsea’s Álvaro Morata hasn’t hit the heights in his first Premier League season but has a decent record at international level, including Euro 2016.
The 2010 champions take on the Euro 2016 winners Portugal in their opening game this summer, on Friday 15 June. The night before the tournament officially kicks off as hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia. Neither nation are highly fancied to even make it out of Group A let-alone go all the way, but many Russia v Saudi Arabia tips have the hosts as clear favourites to win the first match.