Spain and football go hand in hand. The three times European champions and one time World champions have already qualified for the 2020 European Championship with six victories and two draws from their eight Group F games. But, just what are the chances that La Roja can lift the European trophy in next year’s competition?
Wind the clock back to 2008 and Spain were predicted for greatness; that greatness came in the shape of two European successes and a World triumph in merely four years. But then came an almighty fall.
Their European tournament in 2016 ended at the round of 16, whilst their two World Cups in 2014 and 2018 ended at the group stages and round of 16 respectively. That was hardly form of World and European champions.
But, having qualified with ease for next summer’s tournament, the Spanish are looking to rekindle their late noughties form and bring the trophy back to Madrid for the third time in 12 years.
With a previously ageing squad, Spain boss Robert Moreno has injected new blood into the squad. The likes of 23-year-old Dani Ceballos, 22-year-old Mikel Oyurzabal, 24-year-old Saul Niguez, 23-year-old Fabian Ruiz, 23-year-old Rodri, 24-year-old Mario Hermoso, and 24-year-old Jose Gaya have all been given the nod by Moreno to show their worth and all have played a role in their qualification so far.
This infiltration of youth was an essential development for the Spanish national with stalwarts of the nation such as Sergio Busquets, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Raul Albiol and Jesus Navas all the wrong side of 30. Many – if not all – will have retired by the time of the next World Cup so Moreno’s decision to focus on blooding the younger generation was a welcome addition.
Spain’s order and discipline looks to have been rescued through the change of coach and generational changes whilst still maintaining that excitement of having a unique and expressive style. And, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Less than a year until the Euros, the Spanish pomp has returned and after their most recent failures in the most prestigious of European and world competitions, most Spaniards will feel it is better late than never.
Spain are in action this Friday at Malta and then again on Monday against Romania as they look to complete qualification with a 100% record. Unsurprisingly, they are favourites and are included in many weekend accumulator tips online as the Euro Qualifiers come to a close.