Champions of Europe
The UEFA EURO 2008 champions have yet to win a FIFA competition at senior level, though they have played in 12 out of the 18 editions so far. Their recent victory on the old continent was their first major tournament title in 44 years, after EURO 1964. History aside, with their current form, the highly technical Spaniards will fancy themselves among the favourites in South Africa in 2009.
In charge since July 2008, Vicente Del Bosque succeeded a legend in Luis Aragonés - the phenomenal coach that led La Furia Roja to their EURO 2008 title and the man largely responsible for their lengthy undefeated streak.
Not one to fear superstar shadows, Del Bosque comes with impeccable credentials, having coached Real Madrid from 1999-2003 in one of their most successful periods ever. Under Del Bosque, the team has continued winning and they remain undefeated since losing 0-1 at home to Romania in a friendly back in November of 2006.
With a calm, unshakable demeanour, Del Bosque is well-equipped to deal with the squad of Spanish superstars who play for some of the biggest clubs in the world. It is a young group but all the players are used to competing in the top leagues, and in a youth national team with a long list of honours.
Also, La Roja is taking advantage of a new phenomenon. Although most of the Spanish players play in the demanding Spanish league, some have decided to go to foreign leagues where they are maturing and becoming more competitive.
Spain's recent success is based on an excellent generation of ball-playing midfielders like Xavi, Andrés Iniesta, Marcos Senna and Cesc Fábregas, along with the scoring talents of David Villa and Fernando Torres, and the confidence and safe hands of captain Iker Casillas.
Spanish fans are looking forward to South Africa 2009 as they are anxious for new titles to put alongside their recent EURO. Expectations are high as the Confederations Cup will be the chance for La Furia to confirm their place among the world's top teams, and it will also be the test for this new golden generation and its coach to prove themselves no one-trick pony.
|DEL BOSQUE Vicente|