Tuesday 23 January 2018

Euro 2016 team-by-team guide: Everything you need to know Spain

Spain's players celebrate after scoring during the Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Ukraine and Spain
Spain's players celebrate after scoring during the Euro 2016 qualifying football match between Ukraine and Spain

Kevin Palmer gives us the lowdown on the Spain.


Odds: 11/2

Group D fixtures

  • June 13th: Czech Republic (Toulouse)
  • June 17th: Turkey (Nice)
  • June 21st: Croatia (Bordeaux)

COACH: Vincente del Bosque

Spain’s World Cup winning coach of 2010

The coach who led Spain to glory at the last European Championships survived the trauma and humiliation of a first round exit at the 2014 World Cup finals to lead Spain into the Euro 2016 qualifiers, with his task of reshaping his squad set to be tested when is team play tournament football again in France.

This current Spanish squad is a mix of the old champions that reigned supreme at the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, with fresh blood injected to replace some retired heroes and yet big question marks remain over the class of 2016. Del Bosque knows failure for a second tournament in succession will not be acceptable.

STAR MAN: Andres Iniesta (Barcelona)

There were calls for mass changes to the Spanish side after their feeble surrender of the World Cup in Brazil two years ago, yet this majestic playmaker was never likely to be among those jettisoned.

Now 33, Iniesta is still poetry in motion on a football field and his desire to win more major trophies does not appear to have been diluted by his stunning record of success with Barcelona and Spain. We don’t know how much gas is left in the Iniesta tank after a decade of brilliance, but soccer fans should lap it up for as long as possible.

LOOK OUT FOR: David de Gea (Manchester United)

The best goalkeeper in world football? Man Utd’s Player of the Year will look to confirm his status as the best No.1 in the modern game at Euro 2016, with this brilliant 25-year-old doing battle with Germany’s Manuel Neuer in Francet his summer.

De Gea came within a few minutes of a big move to Real Madrid last summer, but the paperwork to confirm the deal was not processed in time to be the transfer deadline and he returned to top form in United colours. A stunning shot-stopper, the lack of errors in his game confirm his status as one of the modern game’s A-listers.

Changing of the guard: David de Gea (right) is expected to replace Iker Casillas at Real Madrid before the summer ends Photo: GETTY IMAGES

WILD CARD: Alvaro Morata (Juventus)

Spain’s chief problem area in the last couple of years has been in their forward line, with Diego Costa’s woes in the 2014 World Cup now spilling over into what has been an underwhelming season in the Premier League with Chelsea.

Pedro has also flopped in his first season at Stamford Bridge, while David Silva has been in and out of the Man City side with injury woes, so Juventus striker Morata could be handed the central striking role for Spain at Euro 2016. Never a prolific goal scorer, he will need to buck that trend at Euro 2016.

VERDICT: There are plenty of question marks hanging over a talented Spanish squad, yet that accusation could be placed against so many sides in this summer’s tournament.

The new generation of Spanish internationals were always likely to face a tough test to be a match for the illustrious heroes of yesteryear, with Del Bosque facing a huge task to live up to his team’s status as defending champions. They have the match winners to win any tournament, but their lack of a natural goal scorer is a weak spot.

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