Spain

The past
Despite their reputation as one of the strongest teams on the planet, Spain have never produced when it has mattered in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup. Sent packing after the first round in 2006, the Spaniards only reached the knockout stage in 2005 and 2007, losing out in the quarter-finals on both occasions: firstly to France, 7-4, and then 5-4 to Mexico.

The present
Back in summer 2007, coach Joaquin Alonso and his unofficial assistant, team captain Amarelle, were still struggling to put together a team worthy of Spain's standing. Since then, their side have won the European qualifiers and will travel to Marseille as one of the favourites, with their fans hoping the Mediterranean sands suit them better than the Rio de Janeiro surface.

The future
Having fallen short of expectations in recent years, Spain have rung the changes throughout their squad. The experience of players such as Roberto, Nico and Amarelle remains vital, but those old hands will be flanked by an emerging generation of talent symbolised by Miguel, Cristian and Javi.

Facts

Former stars
Eloy, Julio Salinas (2005), Johnny (2006)

Key players
Roberto (goalkeeper), Nico (defender), Javi Avarez (midfielder), Amarelle (striker)

Qualifying statistics
Spain's route to the continental title was next to faultless, with their seven games producing seven wins, 39 goals scored and only 13 conceded.

The numbers game
13 - the number of goals fired by star striker Amarelle during Spain's qualifiers for Marseille 2008. That haul represented a third of his country's overall tally.