The collective efforts of an array of individual talents have sent shivers down many an opponent’s spine in recent times. With the finest generation of players at his disposal, it is no surprise that Vicente Del Bosque’s men enter the 2012 UEFA European Championship as favourites. Having won the Euros in Austria and Switzerland four years ago, Spain took their mesmerising form to South Africa and lifted the FIFA World Cup two years later, and now, they’re back on the European front to defend their crown.
The nation’s qualifying campaign was incredible, to say the least, picking up eight straight wins and finishing a handsome 11 points ahead of runners-up Czech Republic, scoring 26 goals and conceding just six. Their tiki-taka style of play leaves defenders in their wake, with each player possessing enough skill to be among the world’s finest.
With Real Madrid skipper Iker Casillas leading the side, the goalkeeping department has three among the planet’s safest pair of hands, with Victor Valdes and Pepe Reina in reserve. The defence is made of a wall with solid bricks from Barcelona and Madrid in Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos respectively. While Pedro Rodriguez, Fernando Torres, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente offer charismatic attacking options in the striking department, Del Bosque seems to be firm about not fielding either of them. And with a midfield like theirs, it’s not hard to see why!
Arguably the most accomplished set of players in the middle of the park, the Spanish midfield consists of the tranquil Barcelona quartet – Xavi Hernandez, Sergio Busquets, Francesc Fabregas and Andres Iniesta, and Xabi Alono, Santi Cazorla, David Silva and Juan Mata, all eight of whom can keep the ball for long enough to frustrate opponents. The vision of Xavi, the marauding runs of Iniesta, the infallible positioning of Fabregas, the pin-point passing prowess of Alonso, and the trickery and fascinating footwork of David Silva and Juan Mata leave not a thing to be desired.
If there’s anything that can keep Spain from defending their pride, the clash of egos might just be it. With half the squad drawn from two fierce rival club teams, the ‘Classico’ factor has the potential to disturb the harmony of the squad. But put that aside, and their slick passing can tear the opposition to shreds and see the current European and World Champions reign supreme in Poland and Ukraine.