May 14, 2006
Random World Cup Facts: Spain
Times Qualified: 12
Best Finish: 4th (1950)
Top World Cup goal listed in YouTube Search: Raul strikes on the volley in an eventual defeat to Nigeria in the 1998 group stage.
Spain’s Top Political Issue at the Moment: Illegal immigration is considered a major problem in Spain currently. Large numbers of African migrants attempt to make it to the Spanish mainland or the Canary Islands often with ships that are not particularly seaworthy.
The Sport in Spain: Spain has a history of disappointment at major tournaments. Their sole triumph was the 1964 European Championship which was contested as a knockout competition. Spain’s Primera Division is home to some of the giants of world football with Real Madrid and Barcelona in seemingly perennial contention for the European Cup. Recently, more Spanish players have begun to play abroad with England the ideal destination.
Players to Watch: Spain are loaded with talent at nearly every position, but their defense will need to be solid for the Spanish to advance. Xabi Alonso (Liverpool) pulled off the feat of scoring from his own half in a January FA Cup tie, but it is unlikely it will occur at such a grand stage. Raúl (Real Madrid) and Fernando Torres (Atletico Madrid) may play for crosstown rivals, but their goals will be important.
Spain’s Chances: Spain should be able to advance out of a relatively easy group. With some question marks at the back, Ukraine could run riot. The same cannot be said of Tunisia and Saudi Arabia, however.
Prediction: Spain will easily advance out of their group before crapping the bed in the second round.