Focus on our Rivals: Spain

Qualification: 1st in European Qualification Group 5 World Ranking: 2 Head Coach: Vicente del Bosque Captain: Iker Casillas Most Capped Player: Andoni Zubizarreta 126 (1985-1998) Top Goalscorer: Raúl 44 (1996-2006).

Star Players: The whole team!

The Team: The European champions Spain have a golden generation of players who are all on top of the World's greatest. With Real Madrid and Barcelona's success in European Championships and attractive football, many foreign players choose the Spanish La Liga the number one league to play in, thus making it more competitive and creating better domestic players. Spain are the only nation in the World that have 3 goalkeepers that are World Class players, unfortunately only one can play and Casillas has had that spot since 2000. The defense is Spain Achilles heal but that says much about the rest of the team. The midfield is their strength with creator Xavi as their architect. They have adapted Barcelona's tiki-taka play with short passes and lots of movement to the National team. Villa and Torres play at top, and they have done that successfully, however Villa has been the better one at this tournament with 2 goals. There has been a small generation shift since Spain's last tournament where Pique, Fabregas, Busquets and Navas have more important roles than they did two years ago.

How They Got Here: Spain played in European Group 5, the toughest one and went impressionable easily through with 10 wins, no losses or draws and a goal difference of +23 goals. They left behind countries like Bosnia/Herzegovina, Turkey, Belgium, Estonia and Armenia. Casillas and Capdevila played most of all and Villa was top goalscorer with 7 goals in the qualification.

Form: In the first game of the World Cup, Spain lost to Switzerland. It was a lost that shook the world because except for a loss at the 2009 Confederations Cup against U.S.A., Spain had not lost for over 3 years.

Our Chances of Beating You: Normally Chile's chances are minimal, however Chile has played a wonderful football in the 2 games yet played in the World Cup and Spain's loss to Switzerland has increased our chances. Last time these teams played each other was in a friendly match in 2008, with Spain beating Chile with 3-0 in Spain. The numbers are misguiding as del Bosque said it was one of the best opponents to Spain. Chile comes to play with Mati Fernandez and Carmona ineligible to play due to yellow cards. Spain have all their players eligible for play. Spain must win this match, because with a draw they will be dependent on Honduras winning against Switzerland. Not advancing would be a disaster for Spain, one of the favorites of the World Cup title.

I think that Chile needs to play the same as they did in the first two games. Spain are not used to opponents who are able to control the attacking pace. I also think that Sanchez will have an important role tonight because he will face the "worst" player in Spain's starting squad, Capdevila. We will have an advantage with Sanchez quick feet, he needs to be more concentrated in his finishes though.

My Prediction: Chile - Spain 2-2

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