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Nickname: La Furia Roja
Number of World Cup appearances: 12
Best World Cup finish: Fourth (1950)
Two years ago Spain couldn’t break its international tournament jinx. That is, until it ran the table at Euro 2008 and captured its first European Championship in 44 years. Now La Furia Roja are the favorites heading to South Africa in 2010.
The Spanish style of football comes a close second to the one Joga Bonito employed in the flamboyant Brazil game. It’s fluid and graceful, yet powerful and dominant. It has lots of ball possession with an exceptional passing game, almost like have a handful of Steve Nashes running around setting each other up for goal scoring chances.
Spain absolutely blitzed opponents during their qualifying campaign with 28 goals scored in just 10 games (10-0-0 record). No one was better.
FIFA’s No. 1-ranked team has some of the best players in the world playing on the best club teams in Europe. Everything is working for them, so there will be no such thing as excuses if they don’t advance to at least the semi-finals. They are the one world power that hasn’t had to deal with off-the-field drama like an England or Holland or underachieving results during qualifying like Argentina. They are the strongest team in the world with the fewest number of weaknesses. The Spanish reign will be monsoon-like in June and July.
2010 Spain World Cup Odds
Spain is currently 4/1 favorites to win the World Cup.
They are 1/3 favorites to win Group H.
Key Player To Watch
The striking partnership of David Villa and Fernando Torres is the best in the world. The midfield combination of playmakers Andres Iniesta and Xavi is simply unfair. But one key player that really gives this unit another level of excellence is Sergio Ramos. The full-back will never receive the hype that his offensive teammates are given, but he boasts versatility at his defensive position that most teams in the world cannot match. One of the most physically fit young players I have ever seen, and his stamina allows for attacking from his right back spot. He loves getting forward and setting up teammates on the wing. His set pieces, too, are a real threat and his talents are boisterous if nothing else, but he creates a real surplus in the starting 11.Take note of this young Spaniard.
Best Team Asset
Take your pick. Spain can pour on the goals or choose to beat you with their exceptional defense. They will run over you with a pure offensive relentlessness or casually rock you to sleep with their everlasting ball possession until you expose your own flaws. Spain’s best asset is their versatility and ways they can beat you. La Furia Roja has way too many of the best footballers in the world to try and scheme to take just one or two out of the game. Have fun stopping them, because it will not be easy.
Key Team Weakness
Spain’s biggest weakness isn’t as concrete as is its many attributes. The Spanish should find easy work in Group H and a 3-0 breeze through the group phase is something to lock into real quick with a futures wager. My only concern is if they don’t wind up being challenged in group play, how will they fare in their first knockout round game? Winning group H would give them the runner-up in the ‘Group of Death’ aka Group G, and that is not necessarily the best situation for a team that is the favorite for this tournament. That would leave them a likely matchup with Ivory Coast or Portugal, hardly worthy of just a Round of 16 matchup, and one can only imagine if one of those two teams wins Group G and Spain and Brazil butt heads in this spot. Wow, what a potential clash of titans that could be.
Spain World Cup Predictions
Great things will be desired from the Spanish in South Africa, and for the most part they will live up to these expectations. The World Cup is similar to the NCAA Tournament. You can be an exceptional team but wind up not winning a title. Spain is a No. 1 seed, so even if they advance to the Final Four of the World Cup, nothing is guaranteed and a loss to another world power, while disappointing, is not always avoidable. You can’t progress in this event without beating really good teams. World Cup success has always found a way to elude this country, but of all the teams this Spanish side is the safest bet in the field.
Key First Round Match (best betting opportunity)
Odds backing Spain in the group play stage will likely all be around -200 or so in each of their three games, so while Spain will find success, value isn’t necessarily there. And while their offensive brilliance might suggest looking at ‘overs,’ they are just as good defensively so that isn’t as easy to lock into either. The best opportunity for a group play wager is to root for Spain to beat Switzerland and for Honduras to beat Chile. Then, perhaps, the odds on the Spanish against another 1-0 side in their second game on June 21 would provide for maybe a more manageable line. If nothing else a winning play would be Spain to capture Group H.
Spain World Cup Group Play Schedule
v. Switzerland, June 16, 2010 – 10 p.m. ET at Durban (Durban)
v. Honduras, June 21, 2010 – 2:30 p.m. ET at Ellis Park (Johannesburg)
v. Chile, June 25, 2010 – 2:30 p.m. at Loftus Versfeld (Tshwane/Pretoria)
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