Former champions Spain had a somewhat easy ride on the road to this summer’s tournament, going unbeaten in qualifying and winning nine of their 10 fixtures, with a staggering goals return of 36 whilst conceding a measly three.
The European nation may have dropped two places to 10th in the recently-released grading system, but it shouldn’t in any way lessen expectations as they come into the showpiece as one of the favourites despite firing coach Julen Lopetegui only a day before the tournament opener.
Road to the Trophy:
Fernando Hierro’s side are placed in Group B where they’ll have to do battle with European champions Portugal, Iran and Morocco. Having been eliminated in the first round four years ago in Brazil, La Roja will be determined to prevent another shock exit.
Having secured qualification with minimal fuss, Spain have however had a bit of a wobble in recent friendlies. Admittedly, they have remained unbeaten, but two wins in five just isn’t good enough. When you consider the fact that one of those games was a 3-3 draw with Russia, questions may then be asked in some quarters about their capabilities.
With several options to choose from, Sergio Ramos edges it mainly as a consequence of his vast experience.
The highly-decorated Real Madrid defender has 151 international caps to his name and, having tasted success in this showpiece eight years ago [with European Championships triumphs either side], will be relishing the chance to win Spain her second title.
Believe the Trophy is ours! Be audacious and speak confidence in the face of adversity.