Spain have been one of the most successful international teams of recent times.
After winning Euro 2008, they lifted the World Cup in 2010 and then another Euros in 2012. The tiki-taka style they employed during that glittering period revolutionised tactics, and helped shape the modern game.
They’ve fallen on harder times of late, but will still be among the hot favourites to lift the World Cup in 2022.
But how will Spain play in Qatar, what is their best formation and where do their strengths and weaknesses lie? FFT brings you the lowdown…
What formation will Spain play in Qatar?
Spain have a tradition of playing with a 4-3-3 formation, with a back four, a deep-lying midfielder, two box-to-box midfielders, two wingers and a traditional No.9.
David De Gea’s omission from Luis Enrique’s squad stunned many, but was always a possibility given Unai Simon is now Spain’s undisputed custodian. He’ll operate behind Eric Garcia and Pau Torres, with Dani Carvajal and Jordi Alba at full-back.
In midfield, Manchester City ball-winner Rodri looks set to anchor, with teenage stars Pedri, and Golden Ball-winner Gavi, either side of him. Further forward, Dani Olmo and Marco Asensio should flank Alvaro Morata.
What is Spain's style of play?
Under Luis Enrique, Spain press with intensity, all over the pitch, in a bid to win the ball back quickly after they lose it. They play with a high defensive line, with goalkeeper Simon tasked with rushing out to clear balls played over the top of the defence.
In possession, Spain play a patient, possession-heavy game, relying on their technically-gifted midfielders to recycle the ball until gaps open up. In a style similar to how Man City play, the aim is to work the ball high up the pitch, before looking to find balls to wingers inside the area who can cut the ball back to the No.9.
Strengths and weaknesses
Spain’s biggest weakness is their options at centre-forward. Alvaro Morata is a top-class striker on his day, but is too inconsistent to be relied upon across a full tournament. The options behind the Atletico man are thin. Barcelona’s Ferran Torres is arguably more comfortable on the wing, while Leeds United’s Rodrigo only has eight goals in 27 appearances - hardly world-class scoring form.
Spain’s biggest strength is the aforementioned quality of their midfield. Enrique can call upon a high number of classy operators to fill his three midfield spots. Beyond Rodri, Gavi and Pedri, he has Koke, Sergio Busquets and Marcos Llorente. An enviable array of talent.
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