GROUP B
Spain

THE 60-SECOND OVERVIEW

With the football chattering classes looking at Germany and Brazil as the firm favourites for the World Cup, Spain have managed to take on a familiar mantle of old – the role of dark horses.

This is quite an achievement considering Vicente Del Bosque’s side happen to be reigning world and European champions, and are set to travel with one of the most talent-stuffed squads ever seen at a World Cup. If a team can afford to Pedro on the bench and Alvaro Negredo at home, then it must have a decent stab at the title.

THE DREAM

Although the Spanish tend to be a pessimistic bunch, deep down there will be a feeling that the Golden Generation can squeeze out one more triumph to win back-to-back World Cups (which hasn't happened in 52 years) and become the greatest international side that the universe will ever see.

It's only at that point that the previously professional Barça and Real Madrid players will launch into giant fisticuffs on the podium in Brazil and duke it out over all those Clásico slights and insults of the past few years. The victory party could even turn into the final scenes of The Commitments.

THE NIGHTMARE

As much as Spain fans will consider their team as potential winners in Brazil, the World Cup could go horribly wrong very quickly indeed.

For starters there's no guarantee of getting out of a group that has a revenge-thirsty Netherlands and sturdy Chile in it. Heck, even Australia may be able to grind out a draw. Should Spain only manage second place, then their last-16 opponents may well be Brazil.

THE STATS
ADVERTISEMENT

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

START A FIGHT WITH HIS OWN TEAM-MATES: DIEGO COSTA

The naturalised Brazilian has elbowed and dived his way through much of the Spanish season, making lots of friends in the process, especially in the Clásico fraternity.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

PLAY UP FRONT: CESC FABREGAS

Despite a ludicrous number of striking options, Del Bosque may well stick with Cesc Fabregas leading the line and the usual procession of dull 1-0 wins to the final.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

FORGET THE RULES: IKER CASILLAS

He may have more than 150 caps, but an 18-month exile from the Real Madrid first team could well make Casillas – the undisputed national No.1, especially with Victor Valdes injured – a little rusty. Expect some detailed explanations of the offside rule from his defenders.

DID YOU KNOW?

If Del Bosque reTaiNs the World Cup, HE might repeat his 2010 Golden Turnip triumph, awarded by the Spanish “Brotherhood of the Friends of the Turnip” organisation. Surely motivation enough.

Tweet this...

Curiously downplayed by the chatterati, Spain remain a startlingly powerful squad capable of beating anybody – if they still want to.