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.
Vicente del Bosque inherited the side that won UEFA EURO 2008 and steered it to further glory at South Africa 2010 and EURO 2012, after which he was named FIFA World Coach of the Year for Men’s Football. Following Spain’s unexpected early exit at Brazil 2014, the ever-prudent Del Bosque set about the task of rebuilding his team, but has resisted the urge to make drastic changes. Capped 18 times by his country as a player, including one appearance at EURO 1980 in Italy, Del Bosque enjoyed a successful spell as coach at Real Madrid, winning two UEFA Champions League titles, an Intercontinental Cup and a clutch of other trophies, before later taking charge at Turkish club Besiktas.
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