Compare the current Spain squad to the side that won Euro 2008 and there are many stark differences: the defence looks considerably stronger, their midfield is missing its leader in Xavi, but most importantly, the Spanish national team no longer possess a world-class striker. A combination of Fernando Torres and David Villa at their peak has been replaced with Paco Alcacer and Alvaro Negredo.
This is no disrespect to Negredo And Alcacer, both are very good strikers, but are they going to strike fear into the best defences in Europe? I doubt Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen or Raphael Varane and Laurent Koscielny would be too distressed at the thought of marking them. Spain still remain one of the favourites for Euro 2016, the question is: can they win it without a world-class striker?
He may be a bit out of sorts at the moment, but Diego Costa has produced world-class form for his club sides over the past couple of seasons. The problem is he doesn't quite cut it for Spain - it's unclear why. Maybe his aggressive style isn't suited to Spain's slow, methodical passing, or maybe he just needs some time to adapt to his teammates. But there seems to be more to it than that.
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There's always a little bit of unease when a player turns his back on his home country like Diego Costa did with Brazil; he had his motives for doing it, sure, but did it isolate him from the rest of the squad? Alcacer or Negredo may feel like their place in the team is being held by someone who isn't even Spanish.
Considering his form for Chelsea last season, it certainly wasn't a lack of confidence which stopped him shining in a Spain shirt. Whenever Spain played, Costa always seemed to be on the fringes of the game, almost as if he was an outsider in his own team. Del Bosque has done nothing to quash that feeling, having recently omitted him from the latest squad.
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Germany set the example
So without any strikers that produce world-class form for the national team, the question surrounding Spain's chances in Euro 2016 can be answered by Germany's World Cup triumph. The Germans lacked a truly world-class forward, yet they deservedly captured the trophy - famously putting seven past Brazil in the process.
Germany did have Thomas Muller to rely on, a midfielder who scores so much he effectively takes the place of a forward - and Spain are lacking in such a prolific midfielder. Cesc Fabregas and David Silva have been loosely deployed as a false number nine with mixed success; if Spain are to avenge their World Cup nightmare in France next summer, they'll need them two to contribute more goals.
The overall squads of Spain and Germany are still fairly even, despite Spain's relative demise over the past couple of years. If Del Bosque can get either Costa, Negredo or Alcacer firing before Euro 2016, Spain may well just go into the tournament as favourites.
Do you think Spain can win Euro 2016 in France?
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