The World Cup is inching closer and the expectations are on the rise.Today let us take a look at one of the major contenders, a team who can win it all, and have the right tools and momentum with them.Spain, coached by Lopetegui, are a formidable side,one which has the potential and ability to conquer all. When Spain had a bad 2014 WC followed by not so impressive Euro 2016, many people predicted end of an era. But under Lopetegui, they have rallied back to recapture their podium. They just breezed past their qualifiers winning nine games out of ten and conceding only three goals. Just a few weeks earlier, they smashed Argentina 6-1. They are the most versatile team in this World Cup with a right blend of experience and youth,a solid system,lots of skills and a plethora of world class players.They have world class players with world class backups in every almost every position. Lopetegui cleverly have used his select group of players and they can play any formation and system. They still bank on their midfield domination, have two world class full backs, have excellent wide players and have sorted out their No 9 problem, so much so that Morata has been left home. Let us take a look at their probable line up.
Spain has played back three, back four, false 9, front three with and without wingers, double pivot,single pivot,system with two strikers,system with a proper no 9 etc etc and all of these systems have worked for them.It is simply because Spain have not deviated from their basic style which gave them abundance of success from 20018-2012, dominating the midfield, build up from back, high press,fast and skillful fullbacks stretching play, great understanding and interplay between forwards and midfield etc. Also they have all the proper tools to bring tweaks in the system if changes are required.Need a focal point for muscle and strength as well as to wind up opposition CBs? Diego Costa is there. Single striker formation is not working? Bring in the false 9 as Isco. Need to press the defenders and defensive mid? Bring in two mobile strikers in Aspas and Rodrigo. Need more penetration and pressing from wings? Vazquez and Asensio are ready. Need to flood the midfield? Koke and Saul are ready to team up. Need an additional dribbler and playmaker in middle? Thiago Alcantara is licking his lips. Need a back three? Nacho and Azpilicueta are ready to partner Pique and Ramos. Need full/wing backs to provide width? Besides Alba and Carvajal, Odriozola,Monreal,Azpilicueta and Nacho, all can play there. This is what makes them so successful and so frightening.
Spain have fielded all sorts and types of formations and its difficult to accurately predict what team they will field finally, they have so much variety and flexibility. But in their most important games they have fielded a sort of 4-3-3 ish, perhaps more of a asymmetric 4-3-2-1 since Costa plays as a true no 9 and both Silva and Isco are mobile wide playmakers who make all sorts of link up play movements in the final third. In midfield there is the genius of Andres Iniesta on LCM who brings in his magical dribbling, ball retention,pin point passing and actually is the brain who glues all the movement on left hand side, right from marauding alba to linking up with RCM and pivot to initialising the interlink play in final third. On RCM, Koke brings a completely different but necessary skill set.He can man mark, can provide support to Buesqets, when required can play box to box, has a wonderful range of passing and vision,can score goals, can keep possession, has great positional discipline and stamina, in short a complete midfield power house. Both the fullbacks , Carvajal and Alba, run up and down continuously, providing width, stretching play, give crosses and cut backs when required, and both have the pace to drop deep to defend counters. Behind them is the greatest holding midfielder of this generation, Sergio Buesqets, providing the platform and balance to launch all the action ahead. The Centre Back pairing of Pique and Ramos are both veterans of various wars and victories. Theire might have been various political and social turmoil between them when they represent their club sides, but when paired with Spain, they have always delivered and are a formidable pair. Ramos is one of the greatest goal scoring defenders ever. Pairing him is Pique, who is one of the best ball playing CBs Europe has ever seen. Both are immense aerially and have wonderful leadership qualities. Guarding the goal is one of the finest GKs of the world, David De Gea, a man many people metaphorically suspect having some DNA of cat inside him, simply due to the astounding reflexes and world class goal keeping he has been providing for last half decade.
Spain is a very formidable side with plethora of world class players and an well oiled system, and they genuinely can win the cup brushing every one else aside.