By Jacob Gaynor
Nickname: La Furia Roja (The Red Fury)
World Cup appearances: 15 (Winners in 2010)
World ranking: 8
Coach: Julen Lopetegui
Captain: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)
Player to watch: David De Gea
The 2018 FIFA World Cup could forever be the moment Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea announced himself as the best in the world.
Named Manchester United’s player of the season for the fourth time (a Manchester United Record) and claiming the Premier League’s Golden Glove award for the most clean sheets, the 27-year-old will look to carry his EPL form into the World Cup to try to guide his country to a second world crown.
With Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa as Spain’s only real attacking threat, De Gea and his defence will play a vital role in the success of La Furia Roja’s World Cup campaign.
Qualifying with ease, Spain finished undefeated at the head of group G with David De Gea and his defence only conceding three goals while the Spanish attack put a total of 36 past their opponents.
Placed into a group with Portugal, Iran and Morocco, expect Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal to provide the only real threat to Spain advancing to the round-of-16 in first position.
Coach Julen Lopetegui has selected a squad with a wealth of experience and star power including Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) and the outgoing Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona).
The only major concern for the Spanish coach is Diego Costa. Undoubtedly one of the best in the world, the 29-year-old striker continues to be riddled with injury and ill-discipline, any suspension or injury will severely threaten Spain’s World Cup dream.
Having finished third at the 2014 World Cup in the group stages, Spain will be looking to avoid the embarrassment of a second straight group stage exit. Anything short of a semi-finals appearance should be considered a negative result for a country well fancied to win it all.