Don’t rule the Spaniards out of making it a hat-trick
When Spain begin their Euro title defence in France they will be seeking to win the competition for the third time in a row, and with the experience and quality they have coming through it would be naïve to rule them out. It’s true, their recent performances have not matched the brilliance we have witnessed in the past and that was compounded with a shock defeat at home to Georgia in their last outing before departing for the tournament, but that shouldn’t matter once the Euros start.
Vincent del Bosque’s men have been handed something of a tricky group. First up will be the Czech Republic, who may not strike that much fear into the Spaniards, but they have a world-class goalkeeper in Petr Cech and qualified emphatically in a group that contained Netherlands and Turkey, so under-estimating them could cost Spain. Elsewhere, Turkey will provide tough opposition, they are blessed with several exciting attacking options, notably Arda Turan of Barcelona and Hakan Calhanoglu who plays for Leverkusen.
However, if Spain have serious ambitions of winning the trophy they should come through those tough, but winnable games, but the other side in the group will provide a real test, they are Croatia. Their side is littered with players who play for the biggest clubs in the world, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic at Real Madrid, Ivan Rakitic at Barcelona, Mario Mandzukic at Juventus, Marcelo Brozovic and Ivan Perisic at Inter Milan, some seriously impressive names. Finishing second makes the path to the final a lot more awkward than winning it will, so beating Croatia will be vital. If you think Spain can top the group and make it to the final, there are many offers you can take advantage of to get the best possible price.
No slim pickings for Bosque this year!
When it comes to the squad at del Bosque’s disposal, you only have to look at the names he hasn’t picked to realise how strong it must be. Javi Martinez, Gabi, Saul, Cazorla, Mata, Torres and Diego Costa are a selection of some of the top class players who missed out. After the World Cup failure in 2014 there is a bit more youth added to the experience that will have a point to prove to the nation that their early exit in Brazil was a shock. The likes of De Gea, Koke, Morata, Thiago are some new young players that have cemented their place in the squad over the past eighteen months, and that blend of youth and experience could be key in Spain being successful.
Sergio Busquets is the best defensive midfielder in world football and his excellent technique and quick passing will be essential for Spain playing at a high tempo. However, the main man is probably Andres Iniesta, the Barcelona magician has been one of the best midfielders in the world for years, and he still has the quality. His vision, ability to beat a man and spot a pass is unrivalled and he will play a major role in creating Spain’s chances.
Where this side could different to the Euro 2012 side that thrashed Italy in the final is the use of a centre forward. In 2012 Cesc Fabregas would be deployed as a false nine, and whilst that is still an option, the manager has a few options up front which suggests that he will have one forward in the team. The likely player is Alvaro Morata, the young Juventus frontman has a great all round game and will provide Spain with a threat in behind as well as being good enough on the ball to join in with the intricate passing style. However, if he doesn’t have the desired impact on the game, del Bosque has a very effective plan ‘B’ up his sleeve in the form of Aritz Aduriz. It is something of a fairy-tale for the 35-year old to be involved, he only has six caps to his name, but he is certainly there on merit. The powerful target man has been in scintillating form for his club Athletic Bilbao over the past few seasons and scores all types of goals, and he can be an extremely useful option from the bench if Spain need a goal.
Overall, the quality of Spain should never be questioned but recent performances and results have proven that they need to maintain their focus at all times. The manager has a squad that is covered in all positions and if they find the right form, they could win it, again.