Football

Spain face big World Cup test

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The World Cup in Brazil is without doubt the biggest test to Spain's reign as the best team in the world and possibly the best international team in history.

This is an international period of dominance not seen before, with victories for Spain in the Euros of 2008 and 2012 and their first World Cup victory sandwiched in between. But can they repeat the feat in Rio on July 13?

The emergence of young players since that tournament in South Africa has strengthened their squad even further. Isco can count himself unlucky not to be in the preliminary 30-man squad and  Thiago will miss the tournament due to injury but Chelsea full back Cesar Azpiliqueta has strengthened the weak right-back slot.

The famous Barcelona duo of Xavi and Andres Iniesta are ageing but there is so much strength in depth in that position. La Liga champions Atlético have added to the squad with Juanfran, Koke, David Villa and Diego Costa making the initial squad and these players will be full of confidence despite their Champions League heartbreak at the hands of bitter rivals Real Madrid.

Fernando Torres may be sweating on a place in the final 23 after another poor season for Chelsea, however he does produce for Spain, scoring in both European Championship finals and securing top scorer status in 2012.

Does Barcelona and Bayern Munich's failure in Europe suggest that the Spanish playing style dubbed "tika-taka" is not as effective as it once was?

Despite Barça's failure to win a trophy, Munich dominated their domestic league and won the title with months to spare. Perhaps this lead to their downfall against Real Madrid? Their lack of sharpness meant the counter attacking speed of Los Blancos caught them time and time again.

Other teams have also improved significantly since 2010. Hosts Brazil - boasting talents such as Neymar - are the favourites to lift the trophy and their demolition of Spain in the final of last year's Confederations Cup suggests they are capable of producing under the pressure of home expectation. Anything less than a sixth triumph on the global scale will be a huge disappointment.

The fact that no European team has won the World Cup in South America means that Spain are only fourth favourite to lift the trophy.

Second favourites are another South American side, Argentina. Boasting an attack featuring four time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi as well as Sergio Agüero and Gonzalo Higuain, if they can keep the goals out, they are sure to challenge. Germany are the only other team - according to the bookies - more likely to win the World Cup than Spain.

This may come as a surprise seeing as their most recent international success came in England at Euro 96. However, Joachim Löw has put together a young and exciting side that have been close to success at recent tournaments.

An unbelievable performance from Mario Balotelli denied them a place in the Euro 2012 final, and two 1-0 defeats to Spain denied them in 2010 and 2008 respectively.

Can Spain be the first European team to win in South America and crown themselves as the greatest side ever? Or will they wilt in the heat?

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Topics:
World Cup
Spain Football
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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