FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Spain lifted the Trophy for the first time in their history at South Africa 2010. Their best performance prior to that was fourth place at Brazil 1950, after which the quarter-finals became a recurring stumbling block. World Cup finalists on 14 occasions in all, the last ten of them consecutive, La Roja failed to defend their title at Brazil 2014, going out in the group phase after losing their opening two matches to the Netherlands and Chile.
The hugely disappointing Brazil 2014 campaign marked the end of an era, with several of Spain’s mainstays deciding to call time on their international careers. With a timely generational handover now under way, the likes of Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta are the players around whom Spain must fashion a new side loyal to their belief in possession football.
Julen Lopetegui was handed the reins of La Furia Roja after Vicente Del Bosque stepped down following UEFA EURO 2016. The former Barcelona and Real Madrid goalkeeper steps into the former coach's big shoes after taking charge of FC Porto for the past two seasons, prior to being sacked in February 2016. Before leading the Portuguese giants, Lopetegui coached across the Spanish U-19, U-20 and U-21 sides between 2010 and 2014, which included a quarter-final finish at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup and wins at both the U-19 and U-21 UEFA European Championships.
51 - Spain had not tasted defeat in 51 FIFA World Cup qualifying games ahead of the Russia 2018 campaign, featuring 40 wins and 11 draws since March 1993.
The former stars
Luis Suarez, Telmo Zarra, Luis Arconada, Juanito, Emilio Butragueno, Andoni Zubizarreta, Fernando Hierro, Carles Puyol, Xavi, Xabi Alonso