Spain are the defending Euro and FIFA world cup champions and definitely bookies' favorites to win the Euro crown again. La Roja are a bunch of highly talented players, who play free-flowing football. Del Bosque, under whom Spain achieved their first ever world cup victory, has brought style and substance into the Spanish team. His recent contract extension would only serve to boost the morale of the team. Other managers are guaranteed to have nightmares the night before their teams face Spain.
Route to qualification
In the qualifiers, Spain were handed relatively easier opponents in Czech Republic, Scotland, Lithuania and Leichtenstein. The Spaniards started their campaign in style by trashing minnows Leichtenstein 4-0 at Vaduz on 3rd September, 2010. A comfortable 3-1 victory against Lithuania at the Estadio El Helmántico in Salamanca and a scrappy 3-2 win against Scotland in Glasgow ensured that Del Bosque's men were on top of the group by October 2010. After a 5-month break, La Roja were up against the Czech Republic, their toughest opponents in the group. A David Villa double secured them full points from the game. Their opponents in the next game, Leichtenstein, proved no match as the Spaniards slotted six goals past them and conceded none. A 2-0 away victory against the Czech Republic followed by a 3-1 home victory against Scotland in October 2011 ensured that Spain finished on top of their group, having won all eight of their qualifiers while scoring 26 goals and conceding just six in that process.
Spain beat the then defending champions USSR 2-1 to win the 1964 European Nations' Cup. They reached the title-clash in the 1984 Euro but stumbled at the final hurdle, losing 0-2 to France. The 1-0 win against Germany in the Euro 2008 final is one of the glorious chapters of Spanish footballing history.
Spain are placed in Group C along with Ireland, Croatia and former world champions Italy. They begin their title defence against the Azzuri on June 10, 2012 at the PGE Arena, Gdansk. The Irish would be no push-overs and are likely to mount a tough challenge against the Spaniards on June 14, 2012. Spain conclude their group encounters against Croatia on the 18th of June at the same venue.
Centre-back Carlos Puyol is ruled out of the Euro with a knee injury while David Villa is yet to recover from the leg injury he suffered in December. The final squad would be announced on the 27th of May.
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, David De Gea, Pepe Reina
Defenders: Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Dominguez, Ignacio Monreal Juanfran
Midfielders: Isco, Xabi Alonso, Santi Cazorla, Benat, Javier Garcia, Bruno Soriano, Juan Mata
Forwards: Adrian Lopez, David Silva, Roberto Soldado, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo, Fernando Torres
The captain, Iker Casillas is the best goal-keeper in the business and holds the national record for the highest number of clean sheets kept. David Silva's pace and guile made him indispensable at Man City and he is a huge threat to rival back-lines.
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Gokul is an avid sports fan and blogger.
Article Source: Gokul_Muthukumaresan