Euro 2012 Previews: #9 Spain

Can Spain – despite predicted challenges from the likes of Germany and Holland – stave off the competition to complete an unprecedented hat-trick of major tournaments after triumphs at Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup? West Germany couldn’t do it and more recently, France couldn’t either, however many expect this Spanish side are more than capable of making history.

Spain’s record in competitive games is, as you would expect, the best in the world. Vincente Del Bosque’s side have been defeated just twice – once vs. Switzerland in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup and secondly a defeat to the USA in the 2009 Confederations Cup which ended Spain’s record equalling run of 35 games unbeaten. It is in friendly games that Spain have been less than impressive with notable friendly defeats to Argentina (4-1), Portugal (4-0), Italy and England.

Luis Aragones set the train in motion back in 2008 when Spain triumphed and it is Vincente Del Bosque who has carried on his work as Spain have well and truly shrugged off the tag of perennial underachievers in world football. But has this come at a price? One of the question marks hanging of the team this summer is, have they got the hunger, the desire and more importantly the energy to create history?

The likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and less Gerard Pique have played a phenomenal amount of games and finals for club and country over the past four years is there enough energy left for a final push? Unfortunately for Spain and for Del Bosque, David Villa and Carles Puyol miss the tournament due to injury. It was the final 23-man squad that did indeed raise some eyebrows, despite being dropped earlier in the season Fernando Torres made the cut, along with fellow strikes Fernando Llorente, Pedro, Alvaro Negredo, leaving no room for the likes of Roberto Soldado and Iker Muniain. A lot of faith is being kept in the class of 2010.

In many ways, this could be a bit of a last hurrah for a lot of the squad particularly those who have been part of the success of the past four years, as Spain looks to the future in terms of the young promising players coming through the ranks. Can they do it?

Fixtures: Spain vs. Italy (June, 10th), Spain vs. Ireland (June, 14th) and Spain vs. Croatia (June, 18th)

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