The three-time UEFA European champions last won it all in 2012. And in their last go-around in 2016, they were unceremoniously dumped by a resurgent Italian squad led by the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Ciro Immobile, and Federico Bernardeschi.
In last year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers, the Spaniards left no things to chance by going undefeated in the group stage matches. They dominated Group F and finished with eight wins and two draws.
Prior to the qualifiers, Luis Enrique had to step down to take care of his sick daughter, and that put deputy boss Roberto Moreno in charge for the Spanish national team to which he has done a splendid job. Just after they finished the group stages, Enrique was reappointed once more to take over from there.
There are still a lot of question marks that La Roja need to deal with as they go along with their campaign. This year’s European showcase looks to be wide open as the playing field has become super competitive.
Spain are placed in Group E along with the likes of Sweden and Poland – two emerging sides who should give them a run for their money.
Can the Spaniards win it all again this time despite having lower Euro 2020 vantage? SBOTOP takes a look on their chances in this upcoming competition.
Young guns providing a huge boost
Spain obviously have one of the deepest teams in the world, which gives team manager Luis Enrique a bevy of options every game.
From having experienced heads in Santi Cazorla, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, David de Gea, and Sergio Busquets, the team also has the likes of Mikel Oyarzabal, Jose Gaya, Fabian Ruiz, Marco Asensio, and Saul Niguez as part of their ongoing youth movement.
The young guns have impressed so far in the tournament as they provided us some notable Euro 2020 highlights, helping Spain become one of the most prolific scoring teams in the group stages. They were fourth overall with 31 goals just behind the likes of Belgium, England, and Italy.
Fabian Ruiz in particular has been superb serving as the team’s playmaker from the midfield while Mikel Oyarzabal and Jose Gaya showed glimpses of their potential by netting goals of their own.
A bigger responsibility awaits for these young bloods as they try to make a deep run in the tournament. This is the perfect time for them to shine and lead the squad to the promise land.
Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets are the glue guys
Scoring goals may be a given for the Spaniards, but the difference between winning and losing at this stage lies on their consistency on the defencive end, and this is where the likes of Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets come in.
The said trio is in the midst of their primes and they offer a lot of intangibles for the Luis Enrique-coached squad.
Sergio Ramos in particular will be a key player to watch out for Spain as he brings toughness, experience, and playmaking. He will be tasked to be the team’s captain as he just surpassed legendary keeper Iker Casillas for being the most-capped player ever in national team history.
Barca teammates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets also offer those things for Luis Enrique. But more importantly, they can serve as mentors to the likes of Pablo Sarabia, Diego Llorente, and Jose Gaya.
With Spain playing a 4-3-3 formation, opponents will have a very hard time in scoring goals against them. They’ve only given up five goals in the group stages and that is a great sign if you’re Luis Enrique.
Spain’s goalkeeper concern
Looking at their lineup, perhaps one of La Roja’s weaker points will be at the goal keeper position.
Team boss Luis Enrique will have to choose between an older David de Gea or Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has been struggling to find his form lately for Chelsea.
David de Gea is a superb goal keeper no doubt, but his fitness remains a concern due to the injuries that he’s suffered over this past year. The 29-year-old goal keeper had some trouble with his groin and hamstring due to the wear and tear playing for both Manchester United and Spain.
On the other hand, Kepa Arrizabalaga’s form will be a concern as well since he has been usurped by Willy Caballero in Stamford Bridge for the fifth straight game, sparking rumours that Frank Lampard is planning to sell the Spanish stopper come summer time.
It will be a hard decision to make if you’re Luis Enrique, but he will have a chance to figure it out as they will play some friendly matches against Germany, Netherlands, and Portugal over the next month.
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