thumbnail Hello,

Despite being reigning World and European champions, La Roja are behind a handful of sides in the betting for this summer's World Cup - Phil Kitromilides previews their chances

It is perhaps curious for those of us not from a country which has dominated the international game for the best part of the last six years, that the level of optimism in Spain ahead of next month's World Cup is relatively low.

There seems to be a general feeling that, in winning the last World Cup and the previous two European Championships, this group of players have achieved all they can.

Yet one would be foolish to write off the chances of a supremely talented squad that has fostered a winning mentality, and the price of 13/2 (7.50) offered by bet365 for Spain to triumph in another major trophy looks extremely healthy.

In qualifying, La Roja were solid if resoundingly unspectacular, recording a series a low scoring victories to finish top of their group ahead of France.

Only once did Vicente del Bosque's side score more than two goals in the whole of their qualifying process, and while the price of 13/2 (7.50) may hold some value
in terms of winning the World Cup, the same price for them to be top scorers does not overly appeal.

While it has not done them any harm in the past few years, Spain's lack of an out-and-out striker may perhaps be their solitary weak point.

Included in the provisional 30-man squad were Fernando Torres and David Villa, both of whom have had less than impressive seasons.

Meanwhile, Alvaro Negredo has played less than he would have liked at Manchester City, while Diego Costa's rampaging, title-winning campaign may have come at a cost, with the Brazil-born forward battling injury.

That leaves Fernando Llorente, of whom Del Bosque seems less than enamored, yet 18 goals during his debut season with Juventus shows the former Athletic Bilbao striker is in supreme form.

The aforementioned lack of optimism amongst Spaniards may also stem from the extremely difficult group in which the defending champions have been drawn, with their first game a repeat of the last game they played in South Africa four years ago against Holland.

Also in Group B are an excellent Chile side, along with Australia, and while Spain are favourites at 8/11 (1.72) to finish top, they will have to hit the group running, unlike four years ago where they lost their opening game to Switzerland.

Spain's World Cup Squad - 33/1 with bet365
Goalkeepers Defence Midfield Attack
Iker Casillas Dani Carvajal Sergio Busquets Diego Costa
Pepe Reina Sergio Ramos Xavi Hernandez David Villa
David de Gea Gerard Pique Andres Iniesta Alvaro Negredo
  Jordi Alba Cesc Fabregas Jesus Navas
  Cesar Azplicueta Xabi Alonso Fernando Llorente
  Juanfran Ander Iturraspe Pedro Rodriguez
  Javi Martinez David Silva Fernando Torres
  Raul Albiol Santi Cazorla  
  Alberto Moreno Koke  
    Tiago Alcantara  
    Juan Mata  

Sign up with bet365 for a first deposit bonus of up to £200

Related

From the web