First recognized as a viable competitor in 1920, Spain’s national football team has a proud and strong history in international play. Starting with their very first Olympic matchup in Belgium that same year, against the number two seeded team, Denmark, Spain’s fledgling national team took the win with a single goal from Spanish football legend Patricio Arabolaza. The wins would keep coming. In 1933, the team recorded their largest scoring gap by taking on Bulgaria and ending with an unprecedented 13-0 victory. Though they have made 14 appearances out of a possible 19 in the World Cup, their first being in 1934, it would not be until 2010 that the team would bring home the victory for their countrymen. This more than anything has the world charged to see how the defending champs hold up.
The Road to Brazil
Placed in group one at the 2014 FIFA World Cup prelim draws, Spain’s team was faced with a difficult road populated with some heavy hitters for their cup matches. Starting in 2012 following the Euro Championships, the Spanish team faced off against Finland, France, Belarus, and the toughest nut to crack to date, Georgia. In fact, it wasn’t until late in the match when the red fury’s Roberto Soldado scored a goal after the entire opposing team was in 11-man defense mode for the whole match. Georgia would nearly respond with a 90 minute counter kick, but the ball failed to make the net, instead ricocheting from the post in a dramatic breath-taker. Spain took the win, and maintained their international standing as the number two team in the world.
Masters of Tiki-Taka
Spain’s team play, quite unlike other team in the world, has maintained a traditional and arguably philosophical style of play over the decades called Tiki-Taka. No matter the circumstances, the team acts as one unit, performing short, meticulously controlled passes to ‘walk’ the ball toward the back of the opponent’s net. “We have the same idea as each other,” said Xabi Alonso in 2010. “Keep the ball, create movement around and off the ball, get in the spaces to cause danger.” Players are reminded throughout the matches that they are there as one unit, and the game itself is paramount, above even individual superstar players. The team takes to the field as one unit, and banks on this strategy to win together. This style of play helped bring home to Spain the World Cup Championship in 2010, as well as the Euro2012 Championship. As such, they will be the defending champions in Brazil, and without a doubt, the premier world cup football team to beat.
World Cup Odds
Spain is the 4th favorite to win the World Cup, so Las Vegas thinks they have a really good shot at it. Their current odds are 7/1 which are pretty good for a team of this caliber. Of course they are expected to win their group, just see below…
FIFA World Cup 2014 – Group B Winner