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SquadEdit

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Liverpool), David De Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Midfielders: Xavi (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Juan Mata (Manchester United), David Silva (Manchester City)

Forwards: Pedro (Barcelona), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea).

Spain
Edit

Team ProfileEdit

Spain will face the ultimate test of their credentials when Vicente del Bosque's side head to South America for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The defending champions, who also hold the UEFA European Championship title, will be seeking to make yet more history in Brazil.

The biggest tournament in football has been staged in the Americas seven times and, on each occasion, a 'home' nation has prevailed.

Perhaps more ominously, it is this year's hosts Brazil who have accounted for three of those triumphs.

But Del Bosque's charges have shown little sign of abating in their quest for success and arrive in the competition as the world's number-one ranked side.

Qualification was secured in relatively comfortable fashion, an unbeaten campaign ensuring a three-point gap to second-placed France.

Spain's 2010 success in South Africa ended the nation's long wait for a first World Cup, with their previous best effort having been a fourth-placed finish back in 1950.

The side's unprecedented success over the last six years – during which time they have won two European and one world title – has been based on a brand of football that has made them the toughest opponents on the planet.

Patient possession football, short passing and sharp movement have rendered Del Bosque's side almost unbeatable.

Spain dominate the ball and boast a wealth of creative talent, with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta capable of dictating the pace and flow of games.

And even when they are not in possession, Spain are solid in defence. Only twice was their goal breached en route to winning the competition four years ago, with Portugal, Germany and the Netherlands all drawing blanks.

Group B has pitched the two 2010 finalists together in the opening match, but expectant fans will demand a better game than the one delivered by Spain and the Netherlands in Johannesburg.

A total of 13 players were booked, with John Heitinga picking up a second yellow in extra time before Iniesta grabbed a late winner.

That victory elevated Spain into exclusive company as only the eighth different country to win the World Cup and they enter the tournament this time around carrying the heavy burden of expectation.

And Spain's second group-phase game will stir memories of that successful campaign, with Chile having been in their pool in South Africa.

Less familiar to Del Bosque will be group underdogs Australia, who they face last.

The Spanish domestic season will certainly have sharpened many of the international players' sense of competitiveness, with La Liga's title race having gone down to the wire before Atletico Madrid were crowned champions on the final day.

But while Atletico, Real Madrid and Barcelona were battling it out in Spain, Thiago Alcantara's Bundesliga-winning season with Bayern Munich ended on a sour note when he picked up a knee injury that will keep him out of the World Cup.

Player Profile (Xavi)Edit

Position: Midfielder

Date of Birth: January 25, 1980

Club: Barcelona

International Debut: v Netherlands (November 15, 2000)

World Cup Appearances: 14

World Cup Goals: 0


Few players in world football can boast a list of honours as extensive as Xavi's, but the Spaniard retains an unquenchable thirst for success.

The 34-year-old midfielder has become accustomed to winning trophies - with Barcelona and his country - and is among the most decorated players in the game.

In 2010, at the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, he got his hands on football's ultimate prize as Spain were crowned world champions.

If they are to retain that title, the Iberian nation will need to lean heavily on Xavi's talents.

He is recognised as the man whose vision, control and range of passing have helped Barcelona to become one of the greatest club sides of all time.

That ability has also seen him become central to Spain's glory years, with the team sweeping all before them under the stewardship of the late Luis Aragones and present coach Vicente Del Bosque.

However, Xavi will head to Brazil following a season that has failed to deliver the array of silverware that the seven-time La Liga and three-time UEFA Champions League winner is used to.

Barcelona's below-par campaign will doubtlessly have left Xavi with an even stronger desire to help his country to glory in South America.

Spain's first game will evoke joyous memories as the Netherlands - the side beaten in the Johannesburg final four years ago - await the defending champions in Salvador.

And Xavi will have a more distant recollection, dating back almost 14 years to his international debut when the Dutch were Spain's opponents in Seville.

Since that landmark occasion, Xavi has surpassed the 100-cap barrier and twice won the UEFA European Championship.

He was also named as the tournament's best player when Spain triumphed in 2008.

Spain's transformation into the dominant force in world football has been underpinned by a style of play that puts possession of the ball at its heart.

For Xavi, that is the ideal approach. Though diminutive in stature, he and the ball are not easily parted.

A player capable of finding time and space where there appears to be none of either, he often picks passes that almost nobody else can see.

As a result, he is arguably the most vivid illustration of what it is to be a genuine playmaker - someone who can dictate the pace of a game, or even turn one completely on its head with a moment of brilliance.

Yet even someone as gifted as Xavi has to concede ground to the inexorable march of time and this year’s showpiece could well see him make his last outing on the world stage.

As a teenager he won the Under-20 World Cup in 1999, before adding an Olympic silver medal to his burgeoning collection of honours a year later.

The young Xavi who graced those Games in Australia could scarcely have imagined that, 14 years on, he would be considered a key player in his nation's bid for a second consecutive World Cup crown.



News SourcesEdit

Football Espana - http://www.football-espana.net/


Marca - http://www.marca.com/en/


Sport - http://www.sport.es/es/


AS - http://www.sport.es/es/


Spanish FA - http://www.rfef.es/


Twitter - https://twitter.com/rfef


Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RFEF


FIFA - http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/teams/team=43969/


Newsnow - http://www.newsnow.co.uk/h/Sport/Football/International+Teams/Europe/Spain