The Spain national football team was qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia as the winner of Group G of the European qualification. The Spaniards very confidently played in the qualifying tournament, having won 9 victories in 10 matches and having only one draw. At the same time, the Spaniards’ goal difference causes only admiration: 36 scored goals and three missed ones.
The Spain is a unique football team. Practically each large football tournament since the 1960s the Spaniards have been considered among contenders to the victory according to the selection of players and to their ambitions. Indeed, even getting into the eight strongest teams in the World Cup became an impracticable task for The Red Fury. The only exception is the period of 2008-2012 when the Spain national football team could win the World Cup and two European Championships in a row.
The Spain national football team will play in the World Cup for the fifteenth time. The first participation of the Spaniards falls on the 1934 FIFA World Cup Italy. On the Italian tournament The Red Fury could overcome the first round where replayed the Romania national football team, but already in the quarterfinal they yielded to the tournament holders and future winners — the Italy national football team.
The first post-war 1950 FIFA World Cup Brazil was a success for the Spaniards. Spain confidently performed at the first group stage, having won three victories in three matches (over the USA, England and Chile national football teams). The Red Fury won the first place in group and went to the final round where four group winners decided the tournament winner. Unfortunately, the Spaniards was unsuccessful in the final round — only one draw and two defeats, and the final fourth place in the World Cup. The forwards of the Spain national football team Telmo Zarra and Estanislao Basora scored four goals each in the tournament. In defiance of all expectations, Spain will get through into the four strongest teams of the world only in 60 (!) years.
The Spanish fans were banking on the home World Cup in 1982. But the tournament was unsuccessful for the hosts from the very beginning. Already at the first group stage the Spaniards first drew against the team of Honduras, 1:1, and then conceded to the Northern Ireland national football team, score 0:1. Only the victory over Yugoslavia allowed the Spaniards to avoid group leaving already in the first round. At the second stage Spain got into the same company with the strong national football teams of England and Germany. Only one of this three came through into the semi-final of the tournament. And after the first match the Spaniards lost chances to win the group, having unconditionally conceded to the Germany. There was the end of their tournament.
In 1994 the Spaniards arrived in the USA tournament as one of the main favourites again. But from the very beginning The Reds showed unconvincing unstable football. They managed to overcome the group stage due to the victory over the weak Bolivia national football team, and in round of last 16, having shown quite good football, the Spaniards beat the Switzerland national football team. But already in the quarterfinal The Red Fury was stopped by the better managed Italy national football team, the future finalist of the tournament. Again, the Spaniards couldn’t get onto the winner`s stand.
Next time, the Spaniards reached the quarterfinal in the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan. In that tournament, The Red Fury played perfectly, and only the bad luck and controversial referee’s decisions didn’t allow the Jose Antonio Camacho's team to win medals. The group stage was in a single breath for the Spaniards. In all three matches Spain won convincing victories every time scoring three balls into the opponents’ net (victories 3:1 over Slovenia and Paraguay, victory 3:2 over the South African national football team). The Spaniards began the play-offs much more accurately which played a cruel trick. In round of last 16, The Red Fury faced the desperate opposition of the Ireland national football team. First, the Spaniards’ forward Morientes opened the score, but the Irish could chase the game one minute before the end. In a penalty shootout the Spaniards were stronger.
In the quarterfinal the Spain team stood up against the tournament hosts — the South Korea national football team, a well-managed but obviously conceding in their class. That match result was affected directly by the referee who didn’t allow two clean goals scored by the Spaniards. As a result, the regulation and extra time were ended in a draw 0:0, and the Koreans appeared stronger in a penalty shootout.
The 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa ended for the Spain national football team with a long-awaited triumph. The Spaniards went to the Republic of South Africa as the reigning Champion of Europe. The Red Fury was traditionally ranked as the favourites, but, at the same time, everyone remembered that the reigning Champion of Europe never had won the World Cup. And the Spaniards became the first who managed!
Spain began the tournament with unexpected defeat from the Switzerland national football team, but further they began improving game by game, and gave no ground for doubt about their superiority. Thanks to the victories over the Chile and Honduras teams, the Spaniards finished the group stage on the first place. In round of last 16, in the quarterfinal and the semi-final, The Red Fury consistently outplayed the Portugal, Paraguay and Germany national football teams by an identical score of 1:0. In the final Spain overcame the Netherlands national team by the same score, but the only goal was scored into extra time. The first and the last at the moment victory of Spain in the World Cups appeared not very bright but pragmatic and confident.
In the Spaniards’ portfolio there are also three victories in the European Championships. The first was in the far 1964 in the home European Championship. Only four teams participated in the tournament, therefore only two victories were enough for a victory: in the semi-final Spain beat the Hungary national football team, and in the final — the USSR.
Two more victories in the European Championships were won recently, and Spain won two tournaments in a row. In the 2008 tournament in Austria and Switzerland, the Spain national football team outplayed the German team in the final and celebrated their first title over 50 years. The Spaniards’ playing style in this tournament created a furor, and later was called “tiki-taka”. The Spaniards’ game was based on the ball control and fast movement of players. Thanks to such tactics, The Red Fury won Euro 2008, as well as the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. In 2012 in the tournament final, the Spaniards crushed the Italy national football team. We will note that the Spanish forwards David Villa and Fernando Torres became the top scorers of the European Championships in 2008 and 2012 respectively.
The Spain national football team took part in the Confederations Cup twice. In 2009 The Fury could win the bronze medals, in 2013 — the silver. In 2013 the Spaniards confidently played the whole tournament and by the final they had the goal difference 15:1. But the Spaniards was beaten in the final, by the Brazil national football team by score 0:3.
Spain goes to Russia as a one of main favourite. The squad of the Spaniards consists generally of the Real and Barcelona players, as well as of other leading clubs of Europe. The captain is the most experienced defender of Real, Sergio Ramos. The top scorer is David Silva from Manchester City. There are no weak points in the Red Fury squad. Perhaps, except for only the center forward’s position, but experience of the previous national teams showed that the Spaniards have learned how to play without a clearly expressed attacking “cord”.