Can Spain resurrect their fortunes at Euro 2016 next summer?
Every team eventually gets found out somewhere down the line. Such is the unforgivably testing nature of the modern game, especially within the competitive and popular realm of international football. Euro 2016 therefore offers Spain that all important chance to prove themselves once more after failing dramatically to reach the knock-out stages of the 2014 World Cup.
Although the technically gifted Spanish will likely go through to next summer’s finals as the current champions of the competition – thanks to a formidably perfect display throughout Euro 2012 nearly four years ago – nowadays, Vicente Del Bosque’s team just don’t quite resemble the untouchable outfit they once were.
Germany seemingly remain the strongest looking European team on paper at this stage, so if Spain truly want to resurrect their fortunes at Euro 2016 next summer, beating Joachim Low’s current world champions will potentially act as just one of the many hurdles stubbornly standing in their way.
So then, although our collective excitement for the return of international football can’t truly begin before the 2015/16 club campaign is over and done with – will Spain eventually rediscover their flow once again before the European Championships finally arrive, or will Euro 2016 ultimately prove another task too far for the current holders of the illustrious trophy?
Well, if their recent qualifying form is to serve as something to go by, Spain simply look fairly well placed at the moment. Seven wins out of eight qualifying fixtures across Group C sees Del Bosque’s former heroes reside somewhat comfortably above both Slovakia and Ukraine in the race to reach Euro 2016 next summer.
The recent level of performance achieved by the Spanish however, has so far been lacking a great deal. The team seemingly haven’t quite got over their World Cup horror in Brazil last year as quickly as many first expected. For one reason or another, the characteristic tiki-taka style of play made famous by the Spanish seems have deserted them for now, leaving the players with a distinct lack of strong cohesion when out together on the pitch.
Although Spain’s defence remains in relatively good shape with Manchester United’s David de Gea manning the sticks, and both Dani Carvajal and Bernat holding down the full-back positions – recent speculation surrounding Gerard Pique’s politically leanings has nonetheless thrown an unforeseen spanner into the works. It seems the Spanish crowd invariably haven’t taken to the Barcelona man’s reported pro-Catalan independence feelings thus far…
Even when putting such external influences aside though, subtle question marks still remain for Del Bosque when assesing his current midfield options. The likes of Isco, Santi Cazorla and Sergio Busquets obviously provide a well-balanced foundation for any side looking to push forward – but will they really be as effective without a certain Xavi on board calling the plays? The answer could well be, no.
Since the recent international retirement of both Xavi and Carles Puyol, Spain have been somewhat lacking in leadership. Vicente Del Bosque has plenty of out-in-out footballing talent to call upon in the modern era, yet very few of his current stars actually resemble great captaincy material in the cold light of day. Such a revelation is felt all the more however, when you consider that Chelsea’s controversial front-man of Diego Costa has been tasked with finding the back of the net for Spain in the absence of David Villa.
Despite working well within Jose Mourinho’s somewhat genius, somewhat undignified match day approach at Stamford Bridge, Diego Costa just doesn’t look quite right on the international stage with Spain. Quite frankly, the quick-footed striker would incidentally suit playing for Brazil in the modern era much more than what he seems to offer among his current Spanish teammates.
However, despite admittedly operating with some clear problems in the striking department this season, Spain nonetheless remain one of the strongest favourites going into Euro 2016. Even at the worst of times the Spanish national side usually contains some of the best technical players around on the world scene – and although the likes of Germany and France will be looking to come out on top next summer – now would simply be a rather unwise time to completely write off Vicente Del Bosque’s men all together…
The best odds for Spain to win Euro 2016 are 6/1 at Bet365.
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