Can Spain win another World Cup? BetKing predictions for the 2022 World Cup

After a history of underperformance, Spain finally broke their duck successfully at Euro 2008. Four years later, they not only retained the Euro trophy but also won the World Cup. The eternal underachievers had become the best team in the world.

And yet, the nature of their triumphs rested on their ability to constantly evolve. Vincent del Bosque took over from Luis Aragones and increasingly centered the team around Barcelona (especially in midfield). In doing so, Spain became less direct and kept possession of the ball more, which made it much harder for opponents to injure them.

That remarkable run finally came to an end in 2014, as del Bosque’s reluctance to refresh the team caught up with him. The title result – a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of the Netherlands – came as a shock, but in truth they had been on the slide for about a year by then.

The pensions of xavier, Andres Iniesta and David Silva also deprived Spain of their world-class midfielder. Fielding three of them on the pitch at the same time, as well as the defensive midfield duo of Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets gave Spain an advantage that no other team could match in the middle of the park. When this advantage ceased to be a factor, other teams quickly eliminated the Spaniards.

How they rebuilt for the future

Only now, with a new generation of midfield talent – interestingly, from Barcelona – flourishing together, has Spain been able to return to something approaching their best.

At 19 years old, Pedri became one of the best midfielders in football and also played a crucial role in Spain’s run to the semi-finals of Euro 2020. There they were eliminated on penalties by the eventual champions Italians in the semi-finals, but it was widely seen as vindication by the manager Luis Enriqueemphasis on youth.

It was this desire to freshen things up and trust promising talent that put La Roja back on the map, and Enrique went even further by incorporating the energetic 18-year-old Gavi into his midfield trident. . At the base, Sergio Busquets remains as a throwback to his golden age, but he is, compared to most other international teams, a young midfielder. The brilliance of a World Cup is a very different proposition to the Euros, however – will the young Spaniards be able to keep a cool head in Qatar?

While this focus on youth seems entirely justified given the performances of Pedri and Gavi have established in midfield, the jury is still out in some other areas. Ferran Torres has drastically underperformed his initial promise and struggles for minutes at Barcelona, ​​but remains an Enrique favourite. His desire to include Eric Garcia was also difficult to understand, as the Barcelona centre-back lacks the physicality and aggression to excel at the highest level, despite being a good ball passer.

gradually eliminate the older generation; timely or premature?

Enrique’s youthful drive also raises a question: how much is too much, and where does experience fit? former faithful Sergio Ramos was largely ignored by the former Barcelona coach, and David De Gea was first supplanted between the sticks by the Athletic goalkeeper Unai Simon and was dropped from Spain’s World Cup squad completely. Although both men have weathered poor form in the past, they are currently in encouraging form for their respective clubs and could provide much-needed quality and experience to Enrique’s young squad.

Tournaments are a special thing: the most attractive team doesn’t always win, and neither does the most talented. Spain may have rebuilt an effective version of their trademark style, but going all the way in Qatar is a huge task, especially with a potential quarter-final encounter with Brazil in the offing.

It will probably be as far as they will go, but Spain should sail comfortably in their group. Germany are still formidable, but they are weaker than they have been in the past, and Japan and Costa Rica are unlikely to pose much of a threat.