Mark Bateman

The 2008 European Champions, unlike Italy, have gone from strength-to-strength since the departure of a winning coach. Luis Aragones, who led Spain to Euro 2008 glory, stepped down to be replaced by Vicente Del Bosque. Del Bosque has guided La Roja to the top of World Cup Qualifying Group five with six wins in six games, in which the team have scored 13 goals and conceded just two.

Spain’s participation in the Confederations Cup will be keenly followed back home, especially as they must live up to the Euro 2008 Champions tag on the world stage. The increased pressure this has brought has so far been handled at continental level, but opponents such as Brazil, likely foes in the latter stages, and even minnows Iraq and South Africa, will have added incentive to beat Del Bosque’s men.

Vicente Del Bosque

Del Bosque is a former defensive midfielder and before taking charge of the national team was noted for guiding Real Madrid to several trophies between 1999 and 2003, including two UEFA Champions League titles and two La Liga titles. Since taking over from Luis Aragones, Del Bosque has stamped his own mark on the national team calling up four new players. David Villa is also enjoying his football under Del Bosque’s leadership and has already scored five goals in Spain’s World Cup qualifying campaign.
Players to Watch

Fernando Torres – Striker – Liverpool (England)

The Liverpool forward has formed an explosive partnership with David Villa and is a constant threat in front of goal. The 25-year-old has scored 18 goals in 61 international appearances, almost one in every three games, and has shown he is just as comfortable scoring with both feet and even headers. Torres may also be a little fresher than some strikers taking part as he missed chunks of the Premier League season through injury.
Cesc Fabregas – Midfielder – Arsenal (England)

The Arsenal captain, like De Rossi for Italy, is an important player in the heart of midfield. Fabregas has bags of talent and has become a more complete player in recent years. As well as scoring important goals he also mucks in defensively, allowing Xabi Alonso and Spain’s other midfield talent to support the front men. The experience the still 22 year-old midfielder has gained in the Champions League and Premier League mean he is not fazed by any occasion.
David Villa – Striker – Valencia (Spain)

Villa is Spain’s fifth all time top goalscorer and currently plays for Valencia in La Liga, however he is a top transfer target for nearly every big team in Europe, and due to his club’s financial problems may soon be on the move. Villa has scored 25 goals in 43 appearances in his international career and is a favourite to be top goalscorer at the Confederations Cup this summer. Any doubts as to his international class were put to bed at Euro 2008.


Spain are the favourites to lift the Confederations Cup after the European Champions were drawn in Group A with hosts South Africa, New Zealand and Iraq. Del Bosque is taking a 23-man squad which will surely be too strong for the minnows in their group and, on its day, is more than a match for the biggest rivals for the trophy Brazil and Italy.

Recent wobbles against Turkey in World Cup qualification though proved the Spanish are still human after all, and, when put under pressure opponents can have success against them. Unfortunately that means having possession, something the Spanish are very good at keeping all to themselves.

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