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Spain team guide

BBC Sport's Euro 2008 guide to Spain.


Fixtures (Group D):

Spain

v Russia - 10 June, 1700 BST, Innsbruck
Russia team guide

v Sweden - 14 June, 1700 BST, Innsbruck
Sweden team guide

v Greece - 18 June, 1945 BST, Salzburg
Greece team guide


How did they get there: With a bit of bother early doors as they lost in Northern Ireland and Sweden, but proceeded to win eight of their last nine games to finish on top of Group F ahead of Sweden and eight points clear of the Northern Irish.

Luis Aragones

Manager: Luis Aragones. A controversial figure, the 69-year-old was appointed after Euro 2006 and has rarely been out of the spolight, first for alleged racist remarks made about Thierry Henry and lately for refusing to recall Spain's record goalscorer Raul to the side. Will quit after the tournament.

Captain: Iker Casillas. Simply a magnificent goalkeeper, the 27-year-old has already made 73 appearances for his country and now leads them from the back. His astonishing reflexes and wealth of experience mean he is crucial to Spain's hopes of success.

606: DEBATE

Euro highlights: Won the second tournament in Madrid in 1964 thanks to Marcelinho's late winner against Hungary. Since then it has been a classic Spanish case of flattering to deceive, with a solitary run to the final in 1984 when Jose Antonio Camacho and Carlos Santillana's hopes were dashed by Michel Platini.

Euro legend: Luis Suarez. Not much to pick from despite some world-class players representing Spain over the years. But Suarez, who had just weeks before led Inter Milan to European Cup victory against Real Madrid, produced a virtuoso display to lead Spain to victory in the 1964 final.

A cartoon of Fernando Torres

Star man: Fernando Torres. There is no shortage of quality with Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi and David Villa in the squad, but Torres has been electric for Liverpool and his predatory finishing could be the difference between nearly men and victors.

Strengths: Did you not see that list of talent? Sublime skills and big match experience everywhere and a midfield comprising Xavi, Fabregas, Andres Iniesta and others will pass other teams to death. Technically the best team in the tournament and in Casillas probably the best last line of defence too.

Weaknesses: If Spanish footballers had a penny for every time they have been labelled underachievers... About as successful as England at penalty shoot-outs and with the Spain-Basque-Catalan rivalry causing the odd rift, there is plenty that could go wrong.

World ranking: 4th.

Our verdict: Would be very popular winners, not just because they have rarely reached their full potential but because they will probably play the most beautiful football at Euro 2008. If they can match their ability with mental strength, they could go all the way. Winners.




see also
Pick your Spain XI
23 May 08 |  Spain
Country profile: Spain
23 Apr 08 |  Country profiles


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