As winners of the 2008 European Championships, Spain enter the first ever World Cup to be held on African soil as one of its most prominent title aspirers. The Spanish know full well that success in landing their first ever World Cup trophy would shrug-off for good the “under-achievers” tag that has been glued to them for so long after years of disappointment and failure.

Spain will be contesting their 13th World Cup in South Africa this summer, with their last one being their lackluster 2006 performance in Germany, as La Roja went crashing out in the last 16 to eventual finalists France. However, they topped their qualifying group for this edition, with a perfect ten wins out of ten and have been drawn in Group H, alongside Switzerland, Honduras, and Chile.

The Coach

Vicente del Bosque (SPA)
59 years old

A name almost synonymous with Real Madrid, Vicente del Bosque has won titles as coach with the Spanish giants, namely La Liga and the Champions League (both on two occasions). The poker-faced tactician took control of the Spanish armada from Luis Aragones after the last successful Euros, and has been doing a stellar job so far, with the only drawback being the team’s last Confederations Cup tournament. However, the general feeling remains that del Bosque is the most adept person for the job.

Players to watch

Iker Casillas
29 years old
Real Madrid (SPA)

The undisputable starter for both club and country, Iker Casillas will have to lead the Spanish fleet to glory in South Africa. The custodian will surely surpass team-mate Raul’s 102 caps, and is on track to beat Andoni Zubizareta’s magical 126 appearances. As reliable as ever, the Mostoles-born glovesman will want to reproduce his 2008 form in which he won silverware for both club and country.



Xavi Hernandez
30 years old
Barcelona (SPA)

Lionel Messi is a football genius, there’s no doubt about that. However, one has to ask whether the Argentinean could have reached such immense heights had it not been for Barcelona’s engine, Xavi. The Barcelona vice-captain is without doubt the best passer of the ball in the world today, and his attacking team-mates will be sure to relish the passes that the La Masia product delivers.

David Villa
28 years old
Barcelona (SPA)

In a season where Barcelona and Real Madrid dominated the headlines, David Villa made sure that his name was not forgotten as one of the country’s most lethal finishers. This season, he scored 21 goals and was one of the driving forces behind Valencia’s run for third spot. He will surely surpass Raul as la Seleccion’s top goalscorer, trailing the Real Madrid icon with by just eight strikes. Already snapped up by Barcelona for next season, Villa can further comfirm just why the Camp Nou club wanted him so much.

Javi Martinez
21 years old
Athletic Bilbao (SPA)

One of La Liga’s revelations this season, Javi Martinez is now the envy of Spain. The Osasuna youth-teamer has flourished at Bilbao, going as far as to be touted as Xabi Alonso’s replacement at Liverpool last summer. Martinez has had a wonderful season so far for his club, scoring five goals in 28 appearances, excellent statistics for a central midfielder. He could very well be on the move this summer.

The view from Spain:

It’s too late for the Spaniards to back down. Having taken Euro 2008 by the horns, Vicente del Bosque’s team have no option but to succeed now. Harbouring a very gifted and talented squad, the country also wants to have the best national team in the world, in addition to having the best club in the world. Anything less than the trophy in South Africa would be considered a failure.


Vicente del Bosque will field the strongest possible Spanish squad for this tournament. With Cesc Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres expected to be fully fit, Spain are any team’s headache, there’s no doubt about that. La Roja appear to be well above other powerhouses, and should very well fancy their chances of making it to the final match in Johannesburg.

Did you know?

Spain were undefeated for 35 consecutive matches in a row, until the run was ended by the United States during last summer’s Confederations Cup.

Group games

16/06/10: Spain  0 – 1  Switzerland     –   Durban
21/06/10: Spain  2 – 0  Honduras     –   Ellis Park, Johannesburg
25/06/10: Spain  2 – 1  Chile     –   Tshwane/Pretoria