Why Spain will win the World Cup again: 10 reasons

1: Julen Lopetegui’s tournament experience

This will be Julen Lopetegui’s first major tournament as Spain manager.

Julen Lopetegui worked his way up to be first team coach having previously won the Euro Under-19 championships in 2012. And then the Under-21 Euros a year later.

The likes of David de Gea, Koke, Isco,  Thiago and Nacho were part of his squad back then, progressing with him, so the knowledge that they can win together could stand them in good stead this summer.

2: Experienced players

Sergio Ramos

GIJON, SPAIN – MARCH 24: Sergio Ramos of Spain reacts during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Spain and Israel at Estadio El Molinon on March 24, 2017 in Gijon, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

Spain can boast more experience then most.

Sergio Ramos, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta and David Silva have all won 100 caps for their country with Gerard Piqué closing in on that milestone.

When you add this to the fact that six of their squad were part of the team that won the World Cup eight years ago, could this wealth of experience  be a key factor for them in Russia?

The full Spain squad for Russia 2018

3: Andres Iniesta’s last hurrah?

Andres Iniesta

MADRID, SPAIN – MAY 27: Captain Andres Iniesta offers the King’s Cup to the audience after winning the Copa Del Rey Final between FC Barcelona and Deportivo Alaves at Vicente Calderon Stadium on May 27, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Andrés Iniesta announced after Barcelona’s 5-0 Copa del Rey Final win over Sevilla that he would be leaving the club this summer after 22 years with the Catalan giants.

Iniesta will move to the J League and Vissel Kobe, where he will link up with Lukas Podolski.

This World Cup will be his last chance to shine on the world stage so can he go out on a high?

4: Spain’s young superstars

MADRID, SPAIN – AUGUST 16: Marco Asensio of Real Madrid CF celebrates scoring their opening goal during the Supercopa de Espana Final 2nd Leg match between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on August 16, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

As well as all the older players in their squad who’ve been there and done it, Spain have a good mix of young players hungry for success.

Atlético’s Saúl and Koke have shone this season, helping Diego Simeone’s side to the Europa League and second in La Liga.

At Real Madrid, both Isco and Marco Asensio across the Spanish capital played important roles throughout the campaign for the eventual Champions League winners.

These young energetic midfield options, alongside players like Busqeuts and Iniesta could be crucial to getting them through a long World Cup campaign where you face many matches in a short space of time without much time to recover.

El Día Después (17/04/2017): Magic Isco – video

5: That winning feeling

Many within the Spain squad come into this tournament on the back of successful seasons which saw them win silverware.

Six of their squad were league champions this season with either Barcelona, Manchester City or Bayern Munich.

A further 12 were involved in cup finals, David de Gea’s Manchester United lost out to César Azpilicueta’s Chelsea in the FA Cup Final.

And 3 of their squad experienced Europa League glory with Atlético Madrid.

Crucially, Ramos, Carvajal, Nacho, Isco and Asensio helped Real Madrid win a third Champions League title in a row.

This must help keep the mood within the camp very high and ensure that winning is a habit Spain can  take onto the international stage.

6: Best in the business

DUESSELDORF, GERMANY – MARCH 23: Goalkeeper David de Gea of Spain gestures during the international friendly match between Germany and Spain at Esprit-Arena on March 23, 2018 in Duesseldorf, Germany. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Any side that wins the World Cup needs to have a great goalkeeper and Spain undoubtedly have that.

Manchester United’s David de Gea has had another stellar season; he’s kept 21 clean sheets in 43 games and won the Premier League Golden Glove award, being Manchester United’s player of the season again.

Amazingly De Gea finished first and second in Match of the Day’s save of the season with his incredible double stop during a 3-1 win over Arsenal taking the accolade.

Goalkeepers such as Manuel Neuer, Iker Casillas and Gianluigi Buffon have been the number 1 for World Cup winners in recent times, proving if you have a great goalkeeper you have a great chance, and if Spain have one thing it is a goalkeeper of such ilk.

7: Spain’s strong qualification

10 games, nine wins and only three goals conceded.

Spain blitzed through qualification toping Group G with 28 points.

They drew 1-1 in Turin with Italy but in the return game in Madrid, Isco shone and they won 3-0 to book their place in Russia. They are unbeaten in their last 20 games dating back to Euro 2016.

Will they carry this good form into the World Cup?

It would also be remiss of us not to mention the incredible 6-1 friendly shellacking Spain handed out to Argentina in late March.

Isco bagged a hat-trick and it could easily have been double figures.

Isco

MADRID, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 02: Spain’s midfielder Isco celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier between Spain and Italy at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on September 2, 2017 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)

8: Strength in depth

To succeed in any international tournament, you must have an outstanding squad not just a stellar starting 11.

Spain can certainly boast better strength in depth then most, the likes of Dani Parejo, Aritz Aduriz and Sergi Roberto all missing out on the squad all together despite impressive seasons for their La Liga sides.

Whilst he struggled at Chelsea, Alvaro Morata would likely play for pretty much every other side taking part in the World Cup, with the exception of France and Brazil.

Spain also have 9 or 10 midfielders who are realistically in with a chance of starting in their first game against Portugal.

This gives them great options for squad rotation allowing them to rest players in the later games in the group stages and so progressing further in the tournament.

9: It’s in Europe

9 of the 10 World Cups to take place in Europe have been won by a European team.

The only exception was back in 1958 when Brazil ruled the world in Sweden.

But neither they or anybody else from outside Europe have been able to be crowned world champions in Europe.

Will this work in Spain’s favour?

10: Favourable draw?

Spain are in Group B with Portugal, Iran and Morocco.

The colossal clash with their Iberian neighbours is their first game which is likely to determine who wins the group.

However, their third game is against underdogs Morocco. This could give Julen Lopetegui the opportunity to rest some key players which is always vital as  the knock out games come thick and fast.

The other advantage is that even if Spain do finish second they won’t play a footballing heavyweight in the last 16.

It is likely that if Spain do progress they will play either Egypt or Uruguay and they should fancy their chances against both of them, so if all goes to plan, once Spain will progress to the quarter finals and anything is possible.

Related: World Cup 2018 top goalscorer: Golden Boot betting guide.

Golden Ball betting guide: World Cup 2018 FIFA player of the tournament odds.

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Back Spain to win the World Cup 16/1!