* Prices may differ from that shown
So the World cup has come around again and shockingly the Spanish football team are favourites to win it, I would agree with this on the basis that Spain and Brazil are clearly the two best teams on the planet right now, however I do have a few doubts which I can only base on hype and hope being a loyal England fan.
Spain play football in a similar manner to the imperious Barcelona, pressing from the front and using a small but precocious midfield to pass their opponents to death, this is allied to having two of the worlds great strikers in Villa and Torres to feed off of the majestic midfield.....what could go wrong?
Well with Vincente Del Bosque at the helm, the side has continuity, a calm leader and a man who is prone to doing the simple things well rather than trying too much. This is a very good thing.
Goalkeeper - Iker Cassilas hasn't had as good a season as he generally does but would still be considered in the top 5 goalkeepers on the planet, it wouldn't be crazy to suggest that Barcelona's Victor Valdes and Liverpool's Pepe Reina might also at least be in the top ten.
Defence - With the supremely athletic Sergio Ramos at Right Back, the wonderfully composed Gerard Pique and his combatative partner Carlos Puyol at Centre Back and AN Other at Left Back, this is a defence which is possibly a lot better than previous generations, but it will be possible to get at them. Left back is always a weakness and lots of teams will push speedy right wingers up against them, this is a job England could do with Aaron Lennon and Theo Walcott. It is also possible to fluster Puyol by running at him and to physically overpower Pique, so these are things teams should consider, also Ramos is prone to raid up the pitch leaving space behind him, so patience and counter attacking will be key for opponents.
Midfield - I think Xavi is the best midfielder on the planet, he controls everything calmly with vision and authority, but he is playing with an injury and has played an awful lot of football this season and is being substituted regularly as its obviously affecting him. Alongside him we have Iniesta who is bright, sprightly and awesome, he has few weaknesses but as with the rest of the midfield they have skill in droves but lack power, perhaps pace and power could outdo them, and have someone who marks Xavi out of the game as Cambiasso recently did for Inter Milan. Alongside will be Xabi Alonso of Cesc Fabregas but Fabregas will be coming back from long-term injury and Alonso is an awesome player but is slow and in a team full of passers could be got at.
They may play the pacy Jesus Navas as an outlet to run with the ball but i'm confident Ashley Cole could handle that. Otherwise you have the brilliant David Silva, but the midfield then has little pace, huge imagination and a lack of power.
Villa and Torres are awesome on their own and dovetail well, Villa has had another great season and should be one of the players of the World Cup, but Torres is again returning from injury alongside Cesc and the slightly injured Xavi and these things allied to the pressure on this team make me think that Brazil might just be stronger with a better defence, a good keeper, more options in midfield and attack to play in different ways and a strong physicality.
It should be a great World Cup, generally I go into it confident England will win, this time i'm not but I do believe that if Spain or Brazil are knocked out we have a great chance!
Spain's national football team is currently one of the best national teams around and are one of the favourites for the World Cup in South Africa next year alongside Brazil. After many years of relative underachievement and disappointments they were finally successful in a major tournament as they won the European Championship trophy (Euro 2008) which took place in Austria and Switzerland last year. After this they rose to the top of Fifa's rakings for national football teams for the first time in the teams history but have since been overtaken by Brazil who won the recent Confederations Cup. They have won the european champioship trophy twice ,in 1964 and most recently last year. They have though not won the World Cup at all. They are the only team to have topped the world rankings for national teams without actually winning the World Cup.
The team has fabulous quality in it especially in the midfield and forward areas and they play some attractive football and have been succesful at least recently. I will go through who I believe are some of the key players in the current Spain team:
Goal Keeper : Iker Casillas- he is the current Spanish number 1 and is a great keeper and shot stopper. He is a very experienced keeper and has been at his club, Real Madrid for his whole career. He is also the current captain of the team. He is currently 28 years old which for a keeper is still not very old.
Right Back: Sergio Ramos- A right/centre back who likes to get forward and try to score goals and lend a hand in the teams attack. He also plays for Real Madrid and at 23 years old still has time to improve.
Centre Midfield: Xavi Hernandez- Top class midfielder who plays for Barcelona. He is one of the best playmakers in the world currently and has a great range of passing and tackling and is very comfortable with the ball at his feet. He is currently 29 years old and is another experienced member of the team
Midfielder: Andres Iniesta- Another fantastic midfielder who plays alongside Xavi at both club and international level. He is a more attacking player then Xavi and they work well together in the midfield and help to dictate the Midfield and help the team keep possession of the football. He is currently 25 years old.
Forward: David Villa-a fantastic and clinical striker who currently plays for Valencia but has been targeted by a number of other top clubs. He was top scorer at Euro 2008 when Spain won the trophy. He is currently 27 years old.
Forward: Fernando Torres-If you watch the premeirship this guy doesn't need much introduction. On his day he is one of the best strikers in the world. He scored the winning goal in the final of Euro 2008 against Germany. He is currently 25 years old.
There are a number of other great players especially in Spain's midfield including Xabi Alonso , Cesc Fabregas and upcoming star Sergio Busquets of Barcelona. David Silva is a great winger as well who also plays for Valencia. Bojan is another upcoming and rising star at just 18 years old.
The team is filled with great players and talented skillfull players. They play the game the way it should be played in a usually attractive and entertaining way. Their attack and midfield is especially good but there are a few question marks over their defence. They were recently beaten by the USA 2-0 in the Confederations Cup with pretty much a full strength team. They are a fantastic team but if you can stop them from playing their normal game and frustrate them like the USA did it is possible for them to be beaten. They are still though one of the favourites for the World Cup next year.
La Selección (The Selection?)
La Furia Roja (The Red Fury)
La Roja (The Red One)
Head coach - Luis Aragonés
Captain Iker - Casillas
Most caps - Andoni Zubizarreta (126)
Top scorer - Raúl González (44)
Tonight's semi-final is the furthest Spain have been in an international tournament for 24 years, the last time being that memorable defeat to hosts France in an amazing European Championship Final in 1984, Platini scoring late on. That Spanish team was extremely controversial as they had to win by 11 clear goals against Malta to qualify for Euro 84, which they did by 12 goals to 1. It was only 3-1 at half-time. Spain's only tournament win was the European Championships in 1964, which like England; they had to host to get the win. They also have two silvers and one gold in the Olympic football finals, the gold in Barcelona.
That jaw droopingly tedious win over Italy last weekend was their first since1922 in a serious match against the 'Azure' and set up tonight's game with the impressive Russians. Spain have already beaten Russia 4-1 in the tournament.
One of the reasons why Spain have failed to progress in the past is that they have lost three straight penalty shootouts in the big tournaments, although that was put to rest by Cesc Fàbregas (who really does look like Skylar from Heroes...) right boot. And what a painful match that was, Italy deploying the infamous cattenercci defensive ploy of putting ten men behind the ball so not to concede against a superior team, and then lumping it long to a big man as the out ball, 'lump' being the appropriate word when talking about Luca Toni. Luca must be the worse Italian striker I have ever seen in 30 years of international football. He is even worse than Brian Deane! The ploy usually works to a tee and indeed in Italian football in the 70s and 80s the Seria A & B teams actually received a bonus for drawing league games. Defense is engrained in their psyche and deployed against more skilful teams, which Spain clearly were at the weekend. Even though I had Italy at 18-1 just before they won their last group game it was the first bet I wanted to lose.
-Spain in the World Cup-
1938 Did Not Enter
1950 Fourth place
1954 Did Not Qualify
1958 Did Not Qualify
1962 Round 1
1966 Round 1
1970 Did Not Qualify
1974 Did Not Qualify
1978 Round 1
1982 Round 2
1990 Round of 16
1998 Round 1
The talk in Austria and Switzerland has been that the bigger teams have an advantage, Spain by know means a big team. We saw how height wins in last nights games in last night's semi-final as the mighty German machine stole the game against Turkey. But three of the four semi-finalists were what we would call small and if you pass the other side to death then you seem to be in with a chance in Euro 2008. Spain, of course, have always been a passing side full-stop, but often accused of over elaborating with the final ball, a bit like the Arsenal. They are always extremely talented players on the ball and often overrun their qualifying group's with goals and style, but never seem to do well in the knockout games - like I said before, perhaps, like England, they have an extreme fear of failure.
-Spain the European Championships-
1960 Did not qualify
1968 Did not qualify
1972 Did not qualify
1976 Did not qualify
1992 Did not qualify
With all those beautiful Latin girls in Spain the crowd crumpet hasn't been great this year, the Dutch girls again winning the big prizes. Where do they get those blue eyes and long legs from! We all know how sexy Spanish girls are but I suspect they all stayed home to watch tennis and drawl over Rafael Nadal instead. It looks like only their cleaners went.
I lived with a gorgeous Catalan girl in Barcelona for a while, and what fun that was! One night she said she was going to take me to her aunt's house to eat traditional Spanish food. I was polite and agreed. As the air-conditioned train rumbled below the beautiful city of Barcelona, every stop bang on time, the Metro began to fill up with more and more football fans, her surprise to me being a box in the Nou Camp no less, twenty feet from Jose Carreress, Maradonna on the pitch. Now that's a girlfriend! Guys, you need to get one of these girls. In fact I need another one!
It's hard to fault the squad, big match players in every position. But just as it's hard to believe Clive Dunn from Dads Army is still alive it's just as hard to believe Raul is only 29. The guy seems to have been around for decades and as 29 is the prime age for strikers it must mean Villa and Torres are very good indeed to keep him out of the side, which they are, of course. In fact Villa for me has been the best striker on show, his work rate and want to have the ball very impressive. I love snappy strikers that love the ball pinged into their feet and turn defenders and Sir Alex needs to break the bank for him to replace Ronaldo. Torres, of course, will be the best in Europe in three years time, that there is no doubt, another one off to Real Madrid at his prime.
Defensively Casillas is hard to fault and Puyol rarely makes mistakes at centre-back. There are perhaps one too many Alice-banded players in the back four for me but they do move the ball out of defense on the ground which is always a good thing for any team.
Fàbregas should start tonight for me, his vision of pass and need to get the ball moving a delight to see. That guy rarely loses the ball, a real Zidane quality to him. But I really like Senna the Brazilian ringer, very strong on the ball and always looking to pass forward, Michael Carrick style.
Russia may be playing with freedom under the great Gus Hiddink but tonight his players will tighten up as the game get serious. But Spain, of course, tighten even more when the pressures on and I think it will be heartbreak tonight if their forwards don't go for it in the first twenty minutes. But what I like most is Spains passion and love for the game, even the King himself cheering in the stands and coming down to the dressing room to celebrate...
1 Iker Casillas Real Madrid
13 Andrés Palop Sevilla
23 José Reina Liverpool
2 Raúl Albiol Valencia
3 Fernando Navarro 2 Sevilla
4 Carlos Marchena Valencia
5 Carles Puyol 13 Barcelona
11 Joan Capdevila Villarreal
15 Sergio Ramos Real Madrid
18 Álvaro Arbeloa Liverpool
6 Andrés Iniesta Barcelona
8 Xavi Hernández Barcelona
10 Cesc Fàbregas Arsenal
14 Xabi Alonso Liverpool
16 Sergio García Zaragoza
19 Marcos Senna Villarreal
21 David Silva Valencia
22 Rubén de la Red Real Madrid
7 David Villa Valencia
9 Fernando Torres Liverpool
17 Dani Güiza 1 Mallorca
= = = Top Scorer = = =
Player 'Goals' (Caps)
1 Raúl 44 (102)
2 Fernando Hierro 29 (89)
3 Fernando Morientes 27 (47)
4 Emilio Butragueño 26 (69)
5 Alfredo Di Stéfano 23 (31)
= Julio Salinas 23 (56)
7 Míchel 21 (66)
8 Telmo Zarraonaindía 20 (20)
9 David Villa 18 (33)
10 Isidro Lángara 17 (12)
This review is on Spain and the picture above is on the Spanish football team (dooyoo fancy putting a nice pine tree instead).
Hola Como estas', Muy Bien gracias. Bet most of you know what that means but to those of you who don't it means 'Hello how are you, Very good thanks.
Spain is a hot happy country and that's why as Brits are all living down there. Learning the lovely Espanol (Spainish) language is very important as the locals will very much appreciate it.
Once in spain whether you've jumped of at Malga airport or driven through the Pyrenees, you will be in a very beautiful country with superb scenic landscapes, fantastic People, wonderful Wine, brilliant climate to name a few great points. (oh' and Flamenco dancing very passionate)
The spainish way of life is very appealing with a siesta in the afternoon and a longer evening (stunning nightlife). The Spanish have also a very strong focus around their families which is nice too.
Get your Euros out, find a resonable flight or transport and take a break in Espana, you'll probably won't want to come back.
One more thing, you've got to go to a bull fight, Arribar' Arribar.
And so the legend of the perpetual underachievers and the football cliché continues unabated? Spain, in order to progress to the next stage of the European Championships required only a draw against the anxious Portuguese, but contrived to bottle it as the hosts seemed to suffer from a significant inferiority complex. Peter Schmeichel?s comments at half time were in essence that Portugal didn?t have enough in their tanks to win the game and that the Spanish would sail through to the last eight. How wrong he was, and how badly he underestimated Spain?s inherent ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory! Spain had beaten the Russians in a stuttering performance and then struggled to a draw against the unfancied Greeks, but were widely tipped to hold out for the point they needed in their final group game against Portugal. They looked good in the first half, without ever really being particularly incisive, but started to become less and less interested in striking the killer blow and invited Portugal onto them as they chose to settle for what they had. Nuno Gomez contrived a brilliant opening for himself and fired home unerringly to raise the spirits of his home crowd and Spain were inexplicably waving bye bye once again, seemingly incapable of fulfilling their undoubted potential on the biggest stage. For a country boasting the most exciting League in the world (no matter what the Premiership might claim) and some of the planet?s best talent, the Spanish international side simply refuse to rise to the challenge and have once again failed dismally. It?s a shame for this football loving country and for a team which is undoubtedly attractive and exciting, but symptomatic of a long running malaise. Ah well, there?s always Germany in 2006? Their squad lined up thus: 1 Santiago Canizares GK 2 Joan Capdevila Def 3 Carlos Marchena Def 4 David Albelda Mid 5 Carlos Puyol Def 6
Ivan Helguera Def 7 Raul Gonzalez For 8 Ruben Baraja Mid 9 Fernando Torres For 10 Fernando Morientes For 11 Albert Luque For 12 Garcia Gabri Def 13 Daniel Aranzubia GK 14 Vicente Rodriguez Mid 15 Raul Bravo Def 16 Xabi Alonso Mid 17 Joseba Etxeberria 18 Cesar Martin Def 19 Sanchez Joaquin Mid 20 Hernandez Xavi Mid 21 Juan Carlos Valeron Mid 22 Gutierrez Juanito Def 23 Iker Castillas GK Now just tell me that this little lot doesn?t contain some of the world?s greatest talent. True enough, they?ve got their own fair share of dogs, and Luque looked to be a bit of a non entity against the Portuguese, but in Puyol, Casillas, Raul, Etxeberria and Morientes, they more than make up for their shortcomings. However, knowledge that they lost against Greece in the qualifiers and required a play off against Norway to even make it to the finals, demonstrates that there is something wrong stopping them truly playing to their utmost. Many have tried to fathom the unfathomable mystery of Spain, and many will in the years to come, but I?m not sure that they will find the answer. Alternatively www.euro2004.com claims ?So Spain can now go all out to land their first major honour for 40 years, when they won the UEFA European Championship on home soil. Having only twice failed to reach the last eight in continental competition, Spain are out to continue that proud record ? as well as finally landing the trophy their talent deserves. At least they do not have far to travel.? Yeah right, and Emile Heskey is a decent striker?.
And so my tip for the World Cup do what they always do, sink by the wayside just as it looks like their bunch of world class individuals are going to finally get their act together and realise their potential on the world stage. Much as was the case with England, with many of the leading lights disappearing from trace and descending into despair, it finally looked like 2002 may have been the year that Spain were going to bring home the bacon - or at least get into the semi finals. For Spain, the last four has always been forbidden territory. They got there once when it was a group section for the stage, but they have never managed to make their way into a knockout semi final in the World Cup, a criminal waste of talent for a country who could boast world class clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona. True enough, those sides have always been heavily, heavily dependent on their foreign imports, men like Alfedo di Stefano, Ferenc Puskas, Johann Cruyff, Johann Neeskens, Patrick Kluivert, Rivaldo and Luis Figo, but they have also had their own sprinkling of high class homegrown talent and the class of 2002 is no different, with the likes of Raul, Hierro, Luis Enrique, Morientes and Mendieta to call upon. As was always likely, however, they blew it when the going really got tough, as they have always done, even though this time some perverse decisions by officials robbed them of a place in history. However, even some wildly off the mark refereeing (or more precisely assistant refereeing) do not really excuse some of the hot headed antics of Sweaty Pit Man (Spanish manager Jose Camacho) and the more outspoken of his squad, who tried to manhandle officials in a vain attempt to solicit a U-turn. It was undoubtedly frustrating for the Spanish party to see decision after decision go against them, including the dubious disallowing of what seemed to be two legal goals, we've all been there, but one should not belittle the astounding achi
evements of Guus Hiddink and his South Korean squad in reaching the semi finals. Camacho and his gang of perennial under achievers should first look at their own part in their demise, and consider how they once again flattered to deceive and went the way of Poland, Portugal and Italy in failing to match the extraordinary hustling game of the joint hosts. But more of that later, at the appropriate time... Spain, like many of the more fancied countries, had been favoured with a straightforward enough task in the first group stage, and Slovenia, Paraguay and South Africa all went down easily enough, with the Spaniards scoring three in each game. They took a while to get going each time, but in the end were always worthy winners with the twin strike force of Raul and Morientes looking increasingly deadly in the area. They conceded a few goals on the way, with some concerns centring around the relatively pedestrian pace of the centre backs, but on the whole looked to have a nice balance running all the way through the side. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas, just 21, had come to the forefront some years ago with some remarkable shot stopping antics for Real Madrid. He had lost his place in the national team some time back, but got a late recall to the first eleven when the first choice stopper, Canizares, dropped a bottle of after shave on his foot and put himself out of contention. Casillas seized the chance with both hands and proved himself still one of the best goalkeepers around. He has his faults but his reflexes and agility are not among them and there are few last lines of defence who are as reliable at blocking short range efforts. Right back Carlos Puyol has matured into an excellent defender and there have been few players in this tournament who have got the better of him. He is difficult to throw off balance and particularly quick in recovering seemingly lost causes. His impenetrability on the right flank bro
ught reassurance to the older (and slower) hands in the centre, Nadal and Hierro. Helguera was withdrawn from midfield to partner Hierro against some of the quicker forward lines, and by and large the Spanish defence looked safe and sound in most of the games out here. But it was in midfield where the real Spanish class shone through with Valeron and Luis Enrique lighting fires in the engine room. De Pedro provided some good service from the left flank and the considered passing movements of the Spanish team were some of the most attractive on show here. Sadly Gaizka Mendieta was only a shadow of the performer he was a couple of years ago, and often looked sulky and disillusioned when he emerged from the substitutes' bench, but the Spaniards could carry a few passengers. Their inspiring performances in the group stage saw Spain emerge alongside Brazil, following the exit of Argentina, France, Portugal and Italy, as the new favourites to hoist the trophy, but they struggled to justify that ranking against the determined performance by Ireland in the second round. After being boosted by an early goal from Morientes in that match, Spain had the best of the first half, but slumped deeper and deeper into their shells after the interval as the strong work rate of the Irish brought them back into the game. Casillas saved Harte's poorly struck penalty and Camacho felt confident enough in his defence's invulnerability to withdraw both Raul and Morientes and settle for the one goal win. The dark stains on the shirt of Mr Sweaty Pit Man were as blatant in this game as at any other point in the tournament as Spain toiled to contain the new aerial threat of Niall Quinn and when Robbie Keane stroked home the last minute equaliser from the penalty spot, Ireland had looked the likelier to go through. However, Mick McCarthy's men were poor in the penalty shoot out, but only marginally more so than Camacho
9;s team, and never looked likelier to stop the Spaniards. After Mendieta's decisive spot kick got Spain out of jail, they must have seriously considered that 2002 would be their year at last. Unfortunately, despite an extraordinary performance by the youthful Joaquin Sanchez on the right wing, they struggled to impose their class in their last eight clash with the unfancied South Koreans. Nevertheless, they had two decent goals rubbed off and saw most of the borderline decision go against them. Spain probably should have won the game, but no one could deny the remarkable Koreans in the end. Spain struggled to match their workrate and should have made sure of the game long before they allowed the joint hosts to finish them off in the sudden death stage. Camacho said afterwards "We've become another victim. Is it a scandal? I think so. We scored two goals. I thought as we were playing in the quarter finals that the officials would be fairer. We are going home without the opposition having been superior." Puyol added "I don't want to think the referee went out to rob either team, but the pictures speak for themselves. The two goals were good." The Spanish party would do well to think back to their battle with the Irish when they should have lost. When Hierro's blatant shirt pulling caught them out at the death. When steadier nerves from Harte could have seen them off. When their World Cup fortunes hung by a thread. Cool experience will always tell that these things even themselves out in the longer run. Whatever. In twenty years time, the record books will only show that Spain lost on penalties to South Korea in the quarter finals and went home empty handed. Just like Argentina, France and Italy. Just like England and Ireland. They will doubtless be back for Euro 2004, where they have always enjoyed better fortunes than in the World Cup, but the Spaniards have a d
eep flaw running through them that somehow always conspires to cause their downfall. Cooler heads, and more assertive performances from their bigger names would have improved their chances of winning. All the bitching and moaning and sweat patches from Camacho will never make a difference. Rejoice at the elation of the Korean people, rather than weep for the cynicism of the Spaniards.
Spain is, as usual, a great group of talented players. After missing Guardiola who has suffered damage to his collateral ligament and will be out until the end of July, Antonio Camacho called 23 players: Goalkeeper Iker Casillas Pedro Contreras Ricardo Lopez Iker Casillas from Real Madrid is the Number two in Spain, just behind Canizares who was injured. It's a good Goalkeeper, but not as good as Buffon or Kahn. Defender Carles Puyol Fernando Hierro Miguel Angel Nadal Curro Torres Juan Francisco Garcia Enrique Romero Nadal,Hierro,Pujol and Juan Fran played against Slovenia. Hierro also scored a penalty. Nadal and Hierro are players with a lot of experience, I think they're a bit slow. Pujol is the best sanish defender. In fact, spanish defence is average. Midfielder Ivan Helguera Juan Carlos Valeron Sergio Gonzalez Gaizka Mendieta Ruben Baraja David Albelda Luis Enrique Martinez Xavi Hernandez Francisco De Pedro Spanish midfielder are really high skill. Francisco De Pedro is a great wing. Valeron a wonderful playmaker, Luis Enrique, Xavi and Baraja complete one of the best midfield line of the World Cup. Forwards Fernando Morientes Raul Gonzalez Diego Tristan Alberto Luque Joaquin Sanchez Raoul and Tristan or Raul and Morientes? In any case Spain has not scoring problems. Spain wins their opening match 3-1 after moments of real quality play. Slovenia has played defensive trying to get a draw. After Spain scored, Slovenia has tried to come back in the match, but the second goal of Valeron decided tha match definetely for Spain. Spain is a very good team. After defeating Slovenia, I'm convinced they will win Group B. They will probably play Cameroon (or Ireland) in second round and then probably the winner of Group D,
I suppose Portugal. I predict Spain playing Italy in semi-final.
España es la mejor selección europea con diferencia (spain is the beter selección in europe), es mejor que inglaterra, por supuesto (is better than england). Estos son todos sus jugadores , uno por uno (these are the spanish player, one by one): Cañizares: tiene mucha experiencia y seguridad. Bueno parando penaltys, juega en el Valencia (it´s very experience and security. Good in penaltys, play in Valencia). Salgado: titular en el real madrid, buen defensor. (play in Real Madrid, good defence) Hierro: el mejor central del mundo (he best center of the world) Nadal: experiencia (experience) Sergi: juega en FC Barcelona. Es muy rapido. (play in Barcelona, is very fast) Mendieta: un crack, ha fichado por el lazio. (is a superstar of soccer. tranfer by lazio). Guardiola: otro crack, pasa muy bien, lider. (other crack, well pass, leader) Luis enrique: muy completo (very complety) Fran: muy buen zurdo. (very well left player). Morientes goleador. (a lot of goals) Raul: el balon de oro este año. (became to will the gold ballon)
Spain, more than any other nation, have the ability to astound, amaze, entertain and disappoint you than any other nation in the world. Player by player they are nothing short of world class. Look at the evidence they have Raul, Morientes, Hierro, Gerard and Mendieta. They play fast attacking football and display no end of skill yet when it comes to major tournaments they are massive underachievers. Spain has provided us with the most successful club side of all time (Real Madrid) yet cant seem to match that success on the international arena. I witnessed the greatest match of all time when they played against Yugoslavia but after all that effort Raul misses a penalty against France and they crash out.AGAIN. Although their underachiever status is probably why I like them and you should watch them any time you get the chance.
Here in my opinion, I am going to compose a player by player guide of each player in the Spanish International football team. As this changes on a regualr basis, I am going to take a recent squad and base my opinion on that. Spain went out of Euro 2000 in the quater finals, losing 2-1 to World Champions France in Bruges. Before this, they had managed to win their group despite losing their first game to Norway 1-0. There was the cracker of the game between Spain and Yugoslavia, with a couple of goals going in at the last moments for Spain to win 4-3. I feel that this strong side would have gone further in the tournament if they had not been drawn against the runners-up of group D, France. But then thats the luck of the draw I suppose. They should qualify for the next world cup and should progress far, form and draw permitting. After all, you can not deny them the great talent they have in their team! The main thing about the team is that most of them play in their home country in the Spanish Premier Division. This is different from teams such as Brazil, where virtually no top class players play at home. This reflects kindly on the quality of both the Spanish players and league. Here is now a run down of the Spanish players that you are likely to see wearing the red shirt of their country on the pitch: Abelardo This player is a long serving player for Barcelona who is now 30 years old. He has been a regular in the Spanish line up for quite a few teams now, with a total of 54 caps to date. Because of his position of either playing centre back or right back, he has only managed to score 3 goals for his country. I think this player is a good one and I have seen him play for his country a few times in major competitions. I feel that he can play a big part in the next World Cup for Spain, as he is a no nonsense, tough tackling defender, which is why he has become a regular in the first team and squad. This player has a good few years l
eft in him, and he could even travel to Germany with Spain for the 2006 World Cup. He will be 36 then, but if Matthaus can do it at the tender age of 39, then why can't Abelardo. A good servant to his club who has had a well deserved long international career. Long may it continue! Alfonso This player has recently moved to Barcelona from Real Betis. He is a highly valued centre forward whom at the age of 28 is in the prime of his career. Like Abelardo, this player has obtained quite a large number of caps, 42, although he has manged to score 11 goals, with a strike rate of about 1 in 4 games. This player is not really a striker that will set the world alight with skill, more one that will keep plugging away for the cause of his team. You probably won't see him in a Barcelona shirt too often due to the enormous amount of competition down there, but he is certainly a useful addition to the squad of both his club and country. Lets just hope he can score a few more goals on the big stage. Agustin Aranzabal This player is not really known of that well, as he is not graced with bags of skill like some of his team mates. He has had quite a decent international career, earning 24 caps and this long term Real Sociedad player is only 27, so I think that we have a lot still to see of him. He can play either left full back or on the left wing which makes him adaptable so he can fit in with the managers plans and can be moulded to fit in with tactics. This player, who has committed most of his career to the same club, is quite a useful one and I hope that he manages to make the headlines a bit more. He has never scored for his country in his 24 appearances and this is probably why most people have never heard of him. Trust me, he is a useful player! Claudio David Arzeno This Spanish left back with an unusually English middle name has only made one cap for his country and at the age of 30 it is unlikely he is going to
get that many more. He can also play centre back and does so on a regular basis for his Spanish Premier League club, Racing Santander. Unsuprisingly, this player is not that well known over here and other places outside Spain. I have never really seen this player play before so I have only facts and figures to go on here, but the fact that he makes the squad in the first place must instantly rate him as a fairly good player. I will be looking forward to seeing more from him. Ruben Baraja This player is relatively young, at the age of 25. He can play either in the midfield or just behind the front two, either in the centre or on the right. He has recently signed for Valencia and is rated as a decent player. In the two caps he has earned with his country, he has managed to get his name on the scoresheet on one occassion, which is a pretty good ratio for a midfielder. He still has a pretty long way to go in his career and I hope to see more of him playin for Spain. I have seen him play once for Valencia and he seemed to pass the ball around well. Looking forward to seeing you again, Mr. Baraja! Santiago Canizares Canizares is one of the more well known members of the team and has kept goal well for both Spain and his club Valencia in recent years. At the age of 31, he still has a good few years left in him to add to his tally of 26 caps he has accomulated so far. This keeper seems to have goo handling and reflexes from what I have seen from him in the Champions League and Euro 2000. He has kept clean sheets on a few occassions for his country, but managed to let in 3 against Yugoslavia, mostly due to a disorganized defence. Lets hope the defence in front of him can protect him a bit better in the future! Dani This young starlet has forced his way both into the Spanish and Barcelona team in recent years. He can play in both midfield and the strike force and is a goal scoring machine recently. He has only got on the s
coresheet once in the move from B Team to full International level but I am sure that as his age and confidence grows that he will soon turn into a striker that the Spaniards can be proud of. He has already scored some goals that any striker would be proud of at the Nou Camp and this 26 year old can only get better from now on. Best of luck to this either footed player, hope he goes on to be successful! Francisco Javie De Pedro Yet another player with a weird and wonderful name. De Pedro can play in the centre of midfield or on the left. He has made four appearances to date for his country and has managed to net on one of these. A long term player for his club Real Sociedad, this player has shown great loyalty to the lub that brought him up through the ranks and into the big time-a quality that is sadly missing in so many players who are just in the game for financial gain these days. As this player is only 27 I expect to see him in the red shirt of Spain a few more times before he hangs up his boots. Francisco, we will probably be seeing you soon, form and injury permitting! Ivan De La Pena Ah yes, Ivan. He has moved around a bit but now has eventually found his way back to his favourite club and the one that brought him up through their youth system, Barcelona. He is a vastly experienced midfielder and also makes for a great captain. He is only 24 but has been in the first team of every major club he has visited in the last few years, including Barcelona, where he even managed to take over the captaincy for a while. So far, he has 24 caps and 4 foals to his name, a splendid record for such a young player. This player is tough in the tackle and good with his distribution, and I feel he can be a key player for Spain for years to come. He still has another good 10 years left in him, so lets hope he makes the most of it and makes it to the very top! Good luck Ivan! Joseba Etxeberria This player really is a world cl
ass one. He plays for Athletic Bilbao and has been a prolific striker in recent years. He is so young too at the rather tender age of 23 and has already earned a staggering 38 caps! I find this is quite amazing seeing his age, and he has managed to score 8 goals in these appearances. He is going to be a real class player in the next few years, and I believe that he is already worth over £12M. When this player really starts to hit form, he is going to cause defences even more hell then he does already, with his blistering pace and great finishing. Just remember the name and who told you that he is going to big once he has a multi million pound contract and is scoring goals for fun! Santiago Ezquerro This player is worthy partner at club level for the previously mentioned Joseba Exteberria. Santiago can play either on the left wing or as left sided centre forward and is equally acomplished in both roles. He is one year older than Joseba at the age of 24 but he has not made nearly as many international appearances, with just 4 to his name. However, he has scored 2 in these matches setting himself a good early reputation to which he can build on. He is a regular first team member for Bilbao and also scores goals on a regular basis. Although I have never seen him play, he sounds like an exciting prospect and one to watch for the future. Albert Ferrer The only player in the Spanish squad to actually play outside of Spain, as Albert play for English club Chelsea. He has been in and out of the team quite a lot in recent years and this right back has been capped a total of 35 times, although he has never scored for his country. This is not where his strength lies, as when I have seen him play for Chelsea he seems to be a good talented, no nonsence defender. I don't know if he is a regular member of the Spanish team any more but I do know that he certainly makes for a useful member of the squad. Every success to you Albert, look forward
to seeing you on 'Match of the Day' in a Chelsea shirt! Gerard Ahhh, here is one of the gems in the Spanish crown. This 21 year old is one of the hottest prospects I know around in world football at the moment. He holds the centre of midfield spot for Spain and rightfully so. Already with 9 caps producing 1 goal and many more assists for his country, this player really is going to be like fire when he reaches the peak of his career. This is the sort of player that you would give anything to have in your team, and is Spains answer to David Beckham and Michael Owen combined. I rate this player very highly indeed and he deserves all of the praise he gets, as he has already achieved so much at such a young age! This one named wonder is going to turn more than a few heads! Hierro Hierro is a hard hitting central midfielder who is a long term server of Real Madrid. He is similar in style to Roy Keane, and is also captain of his country. At the age of 32 he is getting on a little now but still has a good few years left in him, and his 78 caps that he has managed to get is a huge total. Extrodinary that he has managed to score a total of 24 goals for his country-a great amount for a defencive midfielder! This man is very well known and you will see him play for Real Madrid in the Champions League, possibly spearheading them towards another title! His loyalty is superb, with the majority of his career spent at Real. I just hope that he manages to keep going for a while longer! Iker Casillas This player is another hot prospect for Spain, as he is a keeper whom is only 19 years pld. He has been honoured to wear the number one jersey for his country a total of 5 times, though most of them in friendlies to give him some experience at the top levekl. He is still at the club that brought him up through the ranks, Real Madrid, and although he is not a first choice at the moment they will certainly be looking to keep him
around for a while longer and this player is a future International in the making. Look out for this boy, he is going to be hot! Ivan Helguera Yet another Spanish player that also plays for Real Madrid! This one is only 25 and he has made 12 appearances for Spain so far. He can play either as a centre back or defencive midfielder. I don't know much about this man but I know that he has become a first team regular for Real over recent years. Yet another Spanish player to watch for the future in my view-There do seem to be a few don't there! Luis Enrique A Barcelona player that is extremely adaptable, as he has been known to play in every position in the forward and midfield places. Occasionally, he has been known to play in defence, but I have not yet heard of him taking up the gloves in goal! He has made a total of 57 appearances for his country as well as scoring 12 goals. Luis has been at Barcelona for quite a long time and is a first team regular, being able to produce the goods week in, week out. He is regarded all over the globe as a top class player, and this is no different in the Spanish squad, as he play almost every international he is fit for now. He is committed to his club and country both on and off the field and I think he is going to remain to be a talented player for a few years to come yet. Gaizka Mendieta Gaizka is a recent signing for Valencia and is now a regular in the centre back position for both club and country. This 26 year old has been capped 20 times, scoring in a quater of these games, with his 5 goals being an impressive tally for a defender! He is said to be valued at a staggering 17 million pounds, and he is probably worth every penny of this money. I think he is a good player and he impressed me with his solid performances for his country in Euro 2000. Lets just hope that he continues to impress as he is an asset to the International game and is a pleasure to watch. We w
ill no doubt see you in matches in the not too distant future! Jose Francisco Molina This name will seem familiar with many sports fans as he is quite a well known keeper with a few caps to his name, 11 to be exact. He used to play for newly relegated Athletic Madrid before he and a host of other players including Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in search of new pastures. He now keeps goal for Deportivo and is now putting himself back in the running for the International jersey, and his hopes were somewhat damaged last season due to the clubs leaky defence and poor league position. This is a good thing as the country is assisted by this keeper being in good form and high confadence. Lets hope he can keep it that way, as I feel he can soon make himself a first team regular for Spain if he has the right fortune. He deserves it. Good luck Jose! Fernando Morientes Another Real player that words can simply not describe. I'll have a go; his finishing is superb, his pace is immaculate and he is simply a world class player that can provide the goods up front. I expect this player to be a great one for many years to come, and he has already made his mark on the International scene, with 9 goals in just 15 appearances. This player is going to be red hot in years to come, as he is only 24 and has not yet forefilled his full potential. When he does, the world is going to be forced to sit up and take notice. I would wish this man luck, but I have the slight suspicion that he doesn't need it! Ramon This player is a recent signing for Spanish club Las Palmas and a decent signing he is too! Although he has not been capped yet, he has been called up to the Spanish squad several times now and as he is only 26 I feel that he will make quite a few appearances in the Spanish back four before his career is over. I have not seen this player play yet, but from what I have heard we can expect to see him on the big stage soon! Ra
ul And then we come to one of the most hyped up players in recent years-Raul. This speculation is not undue however, as he is only 23 and has already made 42 appearances, scoring 20 goals! By the time he is in his late twenties he will probably have made over 100 caps, scoring a load of goals in the process. Personally, I am a big fan of this man, as he is fast, quick, accurate and basically just terrifies the hell out of defenders. Who would not want this boy in their team? He is going to be a world class player and a half when he is older, just wait and see!!! Sergi Sergi is a long serving player who has played for Barcelona for a large chunk of his career. He is still only 29, and has made hinmself a first team regular for both Barca and Spain, making the left back position his own. He has picked up 59 caps for himself along the way and scored one goal. This player is a good tackler and passer of the ball, and I rate him quite highly. This player has a good few years left in him and U feel that he can still be a valuable asset for both club and country.# All in all, Spain have a host of young players coming through which look as if they are going to make Spain a very very successful nation in years to come. They are certainly a nation to watch out for at the moment, with a good blend of both experience and youth making them the ideal challenges for any of the major honours in world football. I think that they have a realistic chance of really doing well in the next world cup with the players that they have in their squad that are currently coming into their prime. The thing to note is that only one of these players plays abroad, the rest can survive in a very competitive league. Which is a major compliment to them all. The best of luck to both the team and the players!!!
Spain. Perhaps, in terms of club football, the best in the world. Perhaps. But yet on the world stage, the spaniards always seem to fail dismally. Every time a big tournament comes around, Spain are there, the bookies favourites (and the critics), along with Italy, France, Holland and usually optimistically, England. But, and I take World Cup 98 as the best example; Spain crashed out - at only the group stages - even Denmark (and England!!!) progressed further! Look at the talent in La Liga - Rivaldo, Figo, Kluivert, Luis Enrique, Raul, McManaman and Roberto Carlos to name but 7. And off the top of my head, these 7 superstars - 2 are Spanish. Admittedly though, these two would be worth around $60m+ in transfer fees, so why can't they deal out success? Simple. Spain, are ALWAYS thought of as a super-power. Yet, England - whose top trio of Beckham, Scholes and Owen would be well over £100m if you were to buy them for a club side, don't play well either. The lesson to be learnt is that international football has no monetary value - there are no transfer fees. It's all about teamwork.
Going into Euro 2000 I was optomistic of Spanish sucess, afterall I had follwed them in France '98 and they looked awesome against Bulgaria romping to a 6-1 win, but it was not enough for them to progress into the second round where they would of played France and that would of been a hell of a match. So, along comes Euro 2000 and I see that Luis Enrique is injured which is a massive blow to the team as he is a very skillful and creative player.To add to my misery I saw Morientes was not in the squad and i was more agrieved when I saw that it wasn't because he was injured but because the manager preferred Ursaiz to Morientes, whos Ursaiz?. I was still pretty confident of sucess, Hierro just back from injury,Guardiola playing in the defensive midfield role and the magical Raul up front who is my favourite player in the world might I add.So, the backbone of the team was basically the same as that of France '98 but the ageing Zubbizaretta(soory about the spelling) had been replaced by the agile yet somewhat clumsy Canizarres and there was also a new player in midfield, Gaizika Mendieta, who had had a terrific domestic season with Valencia and a player that I rate highly. So I watched Spain in Euro2000 with interest and disappointed wit their perfromances against Norway and Slovenai and they were very lucky to beat Yugoslavia but I think they should of beaten France.Since Euro2000 Spain have lost 4-1 to Germany so to me Spain seem to have missed their best chance of becoming euro or world champs.But then again, next time Enrique wull be fit to create(hopefully)
I, think Spain are the under-acheivers of european football, they have so many class players but when it comes to the big tournaments they seem to crumble. They had a poor opening start to euro 2000 with a defeat to Norway, which must have been depressing, as they defended and showed no attacking side. Ok, they got to the quarter finals, but a country which boosted two champions league finalists, how come they didn't produce on the international scene. I, think Raul is a tremendous player, one which will play for Spain for years to come.
Spain were a bit fortunate to progress in to the latter stage of the tournament, after their amazing defeat of Yugoslavia, with two goals in injury time. Alfonso, with the winner, showed that Spain do not rely soley on Raul to be their star player. Indeed, it is their diminutive genius that ended up spoiling the Spaniards' chances. That penalty miss in their quarter final against France was terrible. What was he thinking? He should have placed it and hit it with power and accuracy; instead he decides to be cool and curl it into the top left corner. Not a good idea, as there is nothing to infuriate players, managers and fans alike more than a casual penalty that goes wrong.
Lets be honest, Spain have got one of the best sets of players you're likely to see, with quality throughout the team in every position. They find it impossible, though, to do well in major tournaments. I felt myself that this could be their year - and it should have been. A missed penalty, and a free header from 3 yards out sent over the bar right at the death, condemned Spain to elimination at the second hurdle. It must be said, Spain make it hard for themselves in almost every game by going behind. It is when they trail that they play their better football - passing more directly, chasing balls harder, quickening the pace of the game - resulting in more chances, and usually a quick equaliser. The Spanish coach must be rueing his decision to take off Mendieta when he saw Raul's penalty flying harmlessly over. Spain definitely had the game there for the taking - they just didn't take it. There's no doubting the quality of Raul but he didn't look as confident and comfortable taking the penalty as he is when a chance comes his way in open play. The Spaniards have once again underachieved and will go home disappointed knowing they had the players to go all the way.
Spain has a reputation for underachievement in the FIFA World Cup, with their best finish being fourth place in 1950 despite often being among the pre-tournament favorites. They often start well, but struggle considerably in the later stages. Their only senior level tournament victory is the 1964 European Championship, which they hosted. They also won the gold medal when they hosted the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, and in the 1999 World Youth Championship in Nigeria. Their current FIFA ranking is 7th. 2006 Worl Cup: Under Luis Aragonés, Spain struggled throughout the 2006 World Cup qualifing stage. Spain were in group 7 with Serbia & Montenegro, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Belgium, Lithuania, and San Marino. Despite mixed results including five wins and draws, Spain qualified for a playoff spot with Slovakia. Spain qualified for the final tournament after defeating Slovakia 6-2 on aggregate. Many didn't know what to expect of Spain heading into Germany, despite almost failing to qualify, the Spanish side had many talented players. Spain were drawn into a group H with Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, and Tunisia. Spain won their opening game over Ukraine in a comfortable 4-0 result, with two goals from David Villa and one each for Fernando Torres and Xabi Alonso. The first penalty of the tournament was awarded after Vladislav Vaschuk was sent off for pulling on Torres. Spain won their second game against Tunisia 3-1. A goal in the 8th minute through Jawhar Mnari put Tunisia ahead, but Spain scored through Raúl in the 71st min and Fernando Torres in the 76th min. Fernando Torres scored from the penalty spot in injury time to get his second goal in the game. Spain beat Saudi Arabia by 1-0 in Kaiserslautern on the 23 June. However Spain fell 3-1 in the second round by the more experienced France team. Spanish fans once again faced a premature exit and a performance below expectations. Spain and Brazil shared the 2006 FIFA Fair Play Award.