2022 FIFA World Cup Team Previews: Spain
The 2022 FIFA World Cup is less than a month away from kicking off in Qatar. Over the next 32 days, I will be previewing each team that will be taking part in the world’s most-watched event. Check out all of the team previews that have been done so far. Up next is Spain.
Similarly to Germany, Spain will be heading to the 2022 World Cup with a revamped squad that could very well be without Sergio Ramos and David de Gea.
“La Roja” will be much more reliant on an aggressive attacking style of play than in the past. Following a semifinal exit in the 2020 European Championships to Italy on penalties, Spain has been in decent form winning 10 of 15 matches — one of those losses came in the UEFA Nations League Final against France.
Coming into the World Cup, Spain is ranked No. 7 in the FIFA men’s rankings. They qualified for the 2022 World Cup by winning their group while losing just once in eight matches. After falling to hosts Russia on penalties four years ago, Spain will be looking to go further than the Round of 16.
World Cup Appearances
The 2022 World Cup will be the 12th consecutive appearance for Spain. The 12 straight appearances came after Spain missed out on consecutive World Cups in 1970 and 1974. This year’s World Cup will also be the 16th overall World Cup appearance for “La Roja” since making their debut at the tournament in 1934.
Best Finish at a World Cup
Spain had never made a World Cup semifinal until 2010. But in the midst of one of the greatest stretches in international football history, “La Roja” became the eighth team to win a World Cup. In the 2010 World Cup final against the Netherlands, Spain needed an extra-time goal from Andrés Iniesta to secure a 1-0 victory.
Spain’s team at the 2022 World Cup will have an interesting mix of old and young players. 34-year-old Sergio Busquets and 33-year-old Jordi Alba will bring a wealth of experience to “La Roja” at the 2022 World Cup. Busquets was part of Spain’s 2010 World Cup-winning team and will continue to lead the midfield as captain if Ramos does not travel to Qatar.
The midfield will also have a pair of teenagers playing in their first World Cup. Pedri (19) and Gavi (18) have both been making huge strides in their careers. Pedri has the ability to be a real game-changer for Spain in a tough Group E. He has become a star with Barcelona this season and helped them take control of first place in La Liga.
A question for Spain will be who is going to score goals. Only once in 2022 has “La Roja” scored more than two goals in a match and that came in a 5-0 win against Iceland. Álvaro Morata leads the team with 27 goals but is far from reliable in front of goal.
Former Spanish international player Luis Enrique has been managing “La Roja” since 2018 but took a few months’ break in 2019. As the manager of Spain, Enrique had some controversy about his 2020 Euros team that did not include a single Real Madrid player. Some called this bias as Enrique formerly managed and played for Barcelona. As manager of Barcelona, Enrique won the treble in 2014-15.
Biggest Group Game – vs. Germany on Nov. 27
Two teams in similar positions face off in what should decide Group E. Spain will be feeling confident against Germany after beating the Germans 6-0 the last time they met. However, that was in November 2020 and both teams have improved since then. While the match with Germany is the biggest, keep an eye on the match with Japan who could take advantage of the aggression from “La Roja” and cause an upset.
Spain will beat Germany and manage to win Group E as a result. This could end up creating a tough Round of 16 match with the runner-up of Group F which could realistically be any of Croatia, Canada or Morocco. I believe “La Roja” will beat any of those three teams, but will lose to Brazil in the quarterfinals. A quarterfinal exit at the 2022 FIFA World Cup would not be that bad of a finish for a Spain side that will be much better by the time the 2026 World Cup comes around.
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