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Euro 2024 team focus: Spain

EURO 2024 TEAM FOCUS: SPAINAs the countdown to Euro 2024 continues, excitement is reaching a fever pitch for the German-based tournament, which will get underway in Munich with the hosts facing Scotland on June 14.  

Among the favourites vying for glory in the Euro 24 odds winner is Spain, a team renowned for its rich footballing history and a distinctive style of play that has captivated fans this century.

La Roja enter the tournament with a blend of seasoned veterans and exciting young talents, all eager to reclaim their status as Europe’s elite.

In this article, we delve into Spain’s squad, key players, their innovative coach, form and the prospects of adding another European Championship to their collection.  

Squad

While the majority of the players you’d expect to be selected for the Euros received the call-up from Luis de la Fuente, there were still some notable absentees from the provisional squad.

It has become a common theme for La Roja to leave some big names out, and this year, Aston Villa’s Pau Torres, Tottenham Hotspurs’ Pedro Porro and Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marcos Asensio bit the bullet.

Conversely, there was room for Barcelona’s teenage sensations Lamine Yamal and Pau Cubarsi, while ex-Newcastle United winger Ayoze Perez received his first call-up.

Barca midfielder Gavi is another notable absentee, missing out on his first Euros after suffering an ACL injury in a qualifier.

Key players

As previously mentioned, Spain have a good balance of youth and experience, and their key players offer a fantastic spine to the team going into the Euros.

Unai Simon has asserted himself as the No.1 keeper between the sticks, and the Atletico Bilbao goalkeeper has a respectable record for La Roja, conceding just 30 goals and keeping 18 clean sheets throughout his 39 caps.

Despite now plying his trade in Saudi Arabia, Aymeric Laporte remains a figure of consistency for Spain and will be a leader at the back.

Rodri is arguably the best midfielder in the world right now and his partnership with Pedri in the centre of the park could be influential in toppling the England odds, as the Three Lions are the favourites to win the tournament.

Up front, Alvaro Morata wore the captain’s armband throughout qualifying and has scored crucial goals for La Roja over the years. The former Chelsea striker can take confidence from bagging three goals in four games at the 2022 World Cup, while he netted four times in six qualifiers.  

The coach

Questions were asked when De la Fuente was appointed Luis Enrique’s successor, as he lacked experience at the top level of management having only Spain’s youth sides.

However, La Roja have moved in the right direction under the 62-year-old, winning the Nations League and qualifying for the Euros with seven wins and just one defeat.

Tactically, De la Fuente has mixed Spain’s traditionally possession-based style with a more direct approach, using attacking full-backs and an out-and-out centre forward, something not commonly utilised by previous Spanish sides.

This new approach and De la Fuente’s habit of constantly tinkering with his starting XI gives Spain an air of unpredictability going into the Euros.

Form and next steps

Aside from that shock defeat to Scotland at Hampden Park early in De la Fuente’s tenure, Spain were almost flawless in qualifying, scoring 25 times and conceding just five goals in their eight matches against the Scots, Norway, Georgia and Cyprus.

There will be no easy games for La Roja at Euro 2024, as they have been drawn in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Croatia, Italy and plucky underdogs Albania, while their knockout stage encounters could include clashes against rivals Portugal and hosts Germany before a potential final against England or France.

 

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