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Dublin: 7°C Thursday 6 May 2021

5 reasons why Spain will win the World Cup

Strength in depth, a recent history of success and more factors in the Spanish side’s favour.

Players such as Anders Iniesta have considerable experience of winning major trophies.
Players such as Anders Iniesta have considerable experience of winning major trophies.

1. Experience

SPAIN HAVE ALREADY won a historic three major trophies in a row at international level and a fourth looks eminently feasible.

Virtually none of the non-Spanish players competing at this year’s World Cup have experience of winning a major tournament at international level — a factor that can be vital when the pressure intensifies in the dying stages of the tournament.

The momentum and the confidence that builds also should not be underestimated — Spanish football is simply steeped in success currently, with even the younger players who have come through the under-age set-up accustomed to winning tournaments at youth level.

And not to mention the fact that the country have also produced this year’s Europa League and Champions League winners, while the Atletico players will still be rubbing their eyes after claiming the La Liga title this year.

So whereas most countries are hoping to win, Spain go into the tournament expecting to triumph.

2. Strength in depth

Diego Costa not fit? Sure they can always play a false nine, Fernando Torres or a host of others?

Iker Casillas’ form a bit dodgy this year? Ah well, they can just pick David de Gea or Jose Reina instead.

Spain have an embarrassment of riches — Real Madrid’s high-profile signing last summer Isco didn’t even make the provisional squad, while other notable names were left out of the finalised one.

Many teams’ chances would be dismissed if a player of the calibre of Diego Costa was ruled out, though Spain will remain strong contenders even if one or two of their best players miss the event through injury.

3. Quite simply, they have the best players

Soccer - UEFA European Championship 2008 - Semi Final - Russia v Spain - Ernst Happel Stadium Source: EMPICS Sport

(Xavi is regarded by many critics as the most important player in Spanish footballing history)

There may be teams who are more tactically adept than Spain, and there are undoubtedly sides who are more suited to the South American conditions.

However, when it comes to judging the best team player for player, the Spanish are peerless.

No other serious contenders have a striker as accomplished as Diego Costa. No side has such a wealth of brilliant creative midfielders. No goalkeeper at international level is as decorated as Iker Casillas (assuming he plays).

The success that their players have enjoyed in the form of silverware backs up these claims — Xavi alone has won 25 trophies, which is more than any other player in Spanish history.

4. Home advantage is overrated

People say home advantage is vital and that’s the reason many people are tipping Brazil to win the competition, but is this really the case?

The last team to host the World Cup — South Africa — went out in the first round. No team has won the competition on their home turf since France in 1998, while before that, it was Argentina in 1978.

Moreover, Brazil don’t have the talent to match Spain. Their star player, Neymar, has had a disappointing season, Paulinho was branded a flop at Tottenham, while Chelsea’s PSG-bound defender David Luiz is accident-prone at the best of times.

Granted, Brazil beat Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup last summer, but this time, the smart money’s on Vicente del Bosque’s men, who will surely take this year’s tournament a bit more seriously.

5. It’s many of their players’ last chance

Xavi, Casillas, David Villa and others may well wave goodbye to international football after this year’s tournament.

All three aforementioned players have been an integral part of Spain’s journey, having all been members of the squad that won their first major trophy — the Euro 2008 crown — at the start of this incredible run that has seen them achieve three-in-a-row.

Therefore, it will likely be an emotional few weeks irrespective of how the tournament pans out.

Furthermore, the bond that the likes of Xavi and Iniesta have formed together over the years can only be beneficial, with few if any of the other teams able to match the camaraderie that they have gradually forged.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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