Spain national football team
Spain to Win Euro 2016 Odds
can't be considered for something else than a major favorite, not after these marvelous achievements that "La Furia Roja" accomplished in the last 8 years. Indeed, Spain is the reigning European Championship winner not only from the 2012 UEFA European Championship, but from Euro 2008 as well, which makes Spain the first ever European nation that managed to win the most cherished trophy in European football and one of the most valuable football trophies worldwide. The 2010 FIFA World Cup success, in the pause between both European Championships, makes Spanish triumph even more jubilant as they were certainly a real hegemony on the major football scene in period 2008-2012, winning everything possible in space of four years.
The current outlook of Spanish national football team was built by the late Luis Aragonés (his bright memory) who lifted the UEFA Euro 2008 trophy, which was Spain's first ever major tournament after the 1964 European Nations' Cup (Euro 1964) when Spain was the host nation and José Villalonga's men were champions after two great wins - 2:1 (after extra time) against Hungary and the same score in the Euro'64 final, but in the regular 90 minutes, when Spain
won over the strong team and also reigning champion - Soviet Union. That victory came in front of 80, 000 spectators at "Santiago Bernabéu Stadium" in capital city Madrid and it remained Spain's only pride until the new era in Spanish football.
Spain won the last two European Championships in 2008 and 2012
A new era which came as a result of Luis Aragonés' work as he was appointed for Spanish national team head coach as Iñaki Sáez's successor, after the group stage elimination at UEFA Euro 2004 in Portugal. Aragonés created one very battleworthy squad and despite the Round of 16 elimination from the 2006 FIFA World Cup (1:3 loss by France), Royal Spanish Football Federation declared their support towards Luis Aragonés and this seemed as their best decision in the last decades. The results were not late and Spain was crowned with the European trophy in Austria
where "La Furia Roja" played like real "Fury" and they became champions after five wins and only one draw - quarter-final against Italy, which Spain won on penalties after all.
After the memorable victory against Germany at "Ernst-Happel-Stadion" in Austrian capital Vienna, Luis Aragonés retired from international football with glory, as his "tiki-taka" style was retained by his successor Vicente del Bosque, who extended the winning streak of Spain.
Indeed, Vicente del Bosque was the coach whose wisdom was a bedrock in any further success, as he decided to stick to the winning play style imposed by his predecessor. Superb move by del Bosque and Spain and Spain's first ever World Cup won in South Africa, followed by the second successive European Championship trophy padded by the 4:0 win over Italy at the "Olympic Stadium" in Ukrainian capital Kyiv, were main facts why the Royal Spanish Football Federation hasn't lowered the credit and the trust factor from Vicente del Bosque, so now the 65-year-old Spaniard will have another chance to shine at the European scene. Spain will hope to forget the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as soon as possible, as we all know that Spain suffered one of their worst ever football upsets - the 1:5 defeat from the Netherlands in their opening game. That result was followed by a defeat from the motivated team of Chile, after which Spain was dethroned and respectively eliminated from the tournament. However, they had a last chance to boost their confidence with the protocol encounter against Australia which they won with 3:0 - after goals by David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata on "Arena da Baixada" in Curitiba.
Special attention on the last mentioned names who have their own profile in our Euro 2016 preview dedicated on the Spanish national football team. David Villa was one of the players with high importance in the above mentioned honors won by Spain in the last years, but he decided to retire from international football after the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He has ended his international career after 59 goals in 97 games which made him the top goal scorer of Spain for all time. Two other important players with certain role in the past achievements, who have also retired from international football, are the former midfielders respectively of Barcelona and Real Madrid - Xavi Hernández and Xabi Alonso, as they both have significant mark in history of Spanish football and were vital for the "tiki-taka" style.
Spanish Euro 2016 squad - selection review
Now, on 17 May 2016, Vicente del Bosque has named the preliminary squad of Spain and it was obvious that some rotations should be made there, after three important players decided to close their national team career after long duty. During the Euro 2016 qualifiers Vicente del Bosque made some experiments with the squads but he certainly surprised the domestic and international football community with his call ups for the upcoming 2016 European Championship. Above mentioned goal scorers from Spain's last match on major football forum (Mata, Villa and Torres) are all excluded from the roster, and if we already wrote that Villa has retired, then decision to leave Juan Mata and Fernando Torres out of the squad raises various discussions. Well, maybe Juan Mata can't boast with his best football season, that's true, but he became one of the comparatively experienced names in current Spanish squad after the retirement of some icons from the recent past.
Spain's best possible Euro 2016 lineup: David de Gea - Juanfran, Sergio Ramos, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba - Cesc Fàbregas, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta - David Silva, Álvaro Morata, Nolito. (4-3-3)
Fernando Torres was with solid contribution for the different achievements of "La Furia Roja" as he scored twice at Euro 2008 (including the only goal in the final) and three goals at Euro 2012. Nevertheless, he was dropped out of the squad after the last World Cup and there were rumors that he can be included in the Euro 2016 squad, due to his good form in the closing weeks of season 2015-2016. Anyway, it seems that del Bosque don't think so and that's the most important thing, actually.
Another surprising absentee from the potential attack of Spanish team is Chelsea's striker Diego Costa, who perfectly suits on the outstanding XI of Spain which will miss the European Championship in France. We have some great names on each position and you can simply see what starting eleven we can build with Spaniards who aren't in Vicente del Bosque's plan. Here it is:
Reina - Monreal, Albiol, J. Martinez, Bellerin - Vitolo, Herrera, Cazorla, Mata - Torres, Costa
- all of them in a potential 4-4-2 formation. Well, words are unnecessary to describe what an impressive squad depth del Bosque apparently has, if he's brave enough to leave out such a players.
Now we should focus on the squad list which was announced and as we already mentioned
there are 25 players who can be proud of their call up, but however, the maximum number of players that each country should submit is 23, so virtually two of them will miss the short journey when crossing the French border.
Spain's road to Euro 2016
Spain has qualified for their sixth consecutive European Championship finals after finishing on top of UEFA Euro 2016
qualifying Group C
, where "La Furia Roja" was in one group with Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Luxembourg, FYR Macedonia. Vicente del Bosque's men suffered surprising defeat from Slovakia
in their second qualifying match, but Spain finished with 27 points out of 30 possible, which simply means that they have won all other qualifying matches - with only three goals conceded, as two of them were in that 1:2 loss in Žilina. Thus Spain reached their 10th ever European Championship finals and the new generation of Spanish footballers will carry huge burden on their shoulders.
We can observe a fusion between some younger players who don't have the experience of their teammates, but however, they're all representing big clubs and tasting from the top level of football won't be something new. Players like Sergio Rico, Saúl Ñíguez and Lucas Vázquez are set for their international debut and it's very likely to achieving that milestone in the pre-tournament friendlies. Indeed, Spain's Euro 2016 schedule is preceded by three friendly matches - against Bosnia and Herzegovina (on 29 May in Switzerland), against South Korea (on 1 June in Austria), as well as their official send from home turf - friendly match against Georgia (7 June) on "Coliseum Alfonso Pérez" in Getafe.
Considering the club commitment of some players - we all know that Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid will meet in the 2015-2016 UEFA Champions League final, some players will join the Spanish selection later, so that's why these friendlies are scheduled mostly in June. Spain's clash against Georgia is only three days before the official opening ceremony of Euro 2016 and respectively less than a week from their first match on French soil.
Iker Casillas is current captain of Spain but we will be surprised if the 35-year-old goalkeeper is once again del Bosque's first choice, as we all know what a season David de Gea had, and Manchester United's goalkeeper looks like one of the best goalkeepers in the world at this moment.
Perhaps the most controversial zone of Spain's Euro 2016 selection is their defense, and mainly the central part, where except Sergio Ramos and Gerard Piqué, the other options are Mikel San José and Marc Bartra. However, the backs are well ensured and players like Dani Carvajal, Jordi Alba, César Azpilicueta and Juanfran are all in contention for the starting positions on the left and right flanks of Spanish defense.
As usual Spanish midfield looks like their best weapon and experience of players like Andrés Iniesta, David Silva, Sergio Busquets and Cesc Fabregas
can be crucial against all other teams. Those are the names of huge part of the most capped players in Spanish selection, but there are some new names involved, even if they're not young. Typical example of that is Villarreal's midfielder Bruno Soriano, who will turn 32 on 12 June, but he has so few international caps. However, his overall contribution for the fourth position of "The Yellow Submarine" in Spanish Primera Division
and the strong Europa League
performance as well, were among the reasons why Vicente del Bosque preferred him. Bayern Munich's central midfielder Thiago Alcântara and the Champions League
finalists - Isco (from Real Madrid), Koke and Saúl Ñíguez (both from Atletico Madrid) are rest of the players who are featured in the preliminary Spanish midfield strength, but we won't be surprised if all of them make it to the finals.
The attack seems to be the most inexperienced side of Spanish team, although some of the players are in an advanced football age. Except Pedro Rodríguez (50+ international caps), all others are with less than 10 international games and this brings even bigger interest and discussion upon Spain's squad. Álvaro Morata (Juventus) , Nolito (Celta de Vigo) and Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao) are other attackers who have found their positions in the Spanish selection, but undoubtedly Lucas Vázquez's call up is the most controversial of all, as the 24-year-old striker of Real Madrid was included at the expense of many already mentioned and experienced strikers.
Spain will renew its European Championship chapter
with a clash against the Czech Republic
early on 13th of June, when both nations will play their first match from UEFA Euro 2016 Group D
. Spain was drawn as the team from Pot 1 while The Czechs were the team with highest coefficient in Pot 3. Their Euro 2016 opener will take place at the "Stadium Municipal" in Toulouse and it will surely attract huge attention, not only by the fans of both nations.
After the game in Toulouse, Spain remains in French south when on 17 June 2016 "La Furia Roja" will play against Turkey
on "Allianz Riviera" in Nice, next to the French Riviera.
Their last Group D encounter is once again on south, but this time in south-western France where Spain and Croatia
will play their third match on the European Championship in Bordeaux. Wonderful schedule not only for the football fans, but for all Spanish supporters who love good destinations.