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Spain World Cup Team Preview

Spain

Odds to Win World Cup: +400

The #1 ranked team in the world has itself a heck of a draw to reach the World Cup finals. Spain won't be interested in anything less than the trophy, as it has an incredibly talented side that cannot be wasted in South Africa.

How They Got Here: There were really no challengers whatsoever to La Roja in qualifying for the World Cup. The team netted 28 goals against five allowed and didn't drop a single point, picking up the full 30 points in ten qualifying matches. Spain's only trip up of note en route to South Africa came in the 2009 Confederations Cup, as it lost to the United States in the semifinals of the event. Espana rebounded with a win in the third place game against the host nation, the Bafana Bafana.

Player to Watch: Much like Brazil, this Spanish side is one that really has 11 players to watch at all times. Even though there are a ton of offensive options, the man that we are going to focus in on is GK Iker Casillas. Casillas is one of the top keepers in the entire world, and as we have seen in World Cups of the past, whether it be with Italy's Gigi Buffon or France's Fabien Barthez, a rock solid keeper is necessary for a team to survive every step of the way in the World Cup. Casillas was virtually flawless in qualifying for this event, allowing just those five goals to get past him in ten matches, and he'll need to keep that sort of form up if La Roja think they are winning the World Cup.

Previous World Cup Experience: Little did Spain know in 1950 when it made the semifinals of the World Cup that that would be as far as the team would go in the next 58 years of soccer in this tournament. The quarterfinals were reached in 1934, 1986, 1994, and 2002. Offense hasn't been a problem, as the team has 80 goals scored in 49 matches all-time at this level. However, conceding 57, at least four of which have come in each of the L/7 World Cup appearances has been a bit of an issue.

Key to Advancing: As long as Spain doesn't come into this tournament over-confident or amass a ton of injuries, advancement shouldn't be the issue. The question is how far this team can go beyond that.

Predictions: The runner up from Group G is going to provide a heck of a challenge to Spain right off the bat in the Round of 16. However, assuming that that hurdle is cleared and Italy is dodged, the path to the semifinals should be relatively clear. La Roja have the tools to win this tournament, and we aren't going to be overly shocked if they do just that. Anything less than a semifinal appearance would surprise us, but anything less than a trophy coming back to La Coruna would be disappointing.

Round 1 Schedule
Spain vs. Switzerland (June 16th, 10:00 AM ET, Durban)
Spain vs. Honduras (June 21st, 2:30 PM ET, Johannesburg)
Chile vs. Spain (June 25th, 2:30 PM ET, Mangaung)

All Odds for 2010 World Cup from Brobury Sports


Odds to Win Group H
Chile +450
Honduras +2800
Spain -400
Switzerland +900
Odds to Advance Group H
Chile -155
Honduras +400
Spain -5000
Switzerland +175

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