National Team Statistics: Spain

Spanish Team History:

The Spanish national team made their international debut at the Olympic Games in Antwerp in 1920 where they ultimately finished  second and collected the silver medal.  Despite their early success, the Spanish side didn’t enter the 1930 World Cup but qualified for the Italy finals four years later.  La Roja made it to the quarter finals where they were eliminated by the eventual winners, Italy, after a replay.  It was after this that Spain went into a lull of sixteen years without playing a competitive match due to the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War.  There first match back was in the 1950 World Cup in Brazil where the Spaniards achieved their highest finish in their history when they came fourth.

Jose Villalonga was appointed manager in 1962 and despite suffering a first round exit in the Chile World Cup the Spanish hit a high when they triumphed on home soil in the 1964 European Championships to lift their first international title.  Having qualified automatically as European Champions the Spanish disappointed once again in the 1966 World Cup being eliminated after the group stage.

The Spanish then entered a period of continual disappointment that could only be matched by their European counterparts, England.  They repeated failed to qualify for tournaments, and those they did reach they failed to make an impression or failed to progress beyond the last eight, with the notable exception of Euro ’84 where they reached the final to be defeated by deserving winners France.  The Spaniards failed to build on this and despite having squads brimming with talent, time after time could not shake their quarter final monkey from their back.

In 2008, a new generation of Spaniards finally delivered.  At the European Championships in Austria and Switzerland, La Roja were able to lay a forty four year ghost to rest.  Controversial coach, Luis Aragones had compiled a young but immensely talented squad, spear headed by mercurial striker Fernando Torres who had just come from a terrific debut season for Liverpool.  Controversially, the outspoken coach had omitted leading scorer Raul to widespread criticism from the Spanish media but justified his decision when Spain, undefeated in the tournament, played with style and flair to take the title and with it elevate them to number one in the FIFA World rankings and install them as early favourites for 2010.

Jose Villalonga was appointed manager in 1962 and despite suffering a first round exit in the Chile World Cup the Spanish hit a high when they triumphed on home soil in the 1964 European Championships to lift their first international title.  The host nation defeated Hungary by two goals to one in the semi final and repeated the trick in the final overcoming the USSR.  Having qualified automatically as European Champions the Spanish disappointed

The Spanish then entered a period of continual disappointment that could only be matched by their European counterparts, England.  They repeatedly failed to qualify for tournaments, and those they did reach they failed to make an impression or failed to progress beyond the last eight, with the notable exception of Euro ’84 where they reached the final to be defeated by deserving winners France.  The Spaniards failed to build on this and despite having squads brimming with talent, time after time could not shake their quarter final monkey from their back.  In 1986, 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002 and 2006 The Spaniards were eliminated two matches before the final match.  Spanish football was in a trough and this was most noticeable in France 1998 when they failed to progress from the group stage having twice surrendered the lead against the Super Eagles of Nigeria to give the West Africans a deserved lead.

Latest Results: Denmark 0 Spain 3 (Alonso 2, Xavi)

Upcoming fixtures: 06/09/08 Spain v Bosnia-Herzegovina, World Cup Qualifier

Nickname:  La Seleccion, La Furia Roja (the red fury), La Roja (the red one)

Most Appearances: Antonio Zubizarreta (126)

Leading Goalscorer: Raul (44)

World Ranking: 1

Best World Cup Performances: 12 Appearances: 4th place 1950

UEFA European Championships Performances: 8 Appearances, winners: 1964 & 2008

Spanish Legends:

Raul: 102 caps, 44 goals
Alfredo Di Stefano: 31 caps, 23 goals
Antonio Zubizarreta: 126 caps, 0 goals

Former Managers:

Luis Aragones: 2004-2008
Jose Villalonga: 1962-1966
Future Stars:
Cesc Fabregas:  (Arsenal) 04/05/87
Bojan Krkic:  (Barcelona) 24/08/90

Current Squad:

# Name Club DOB Caps (goals)

Goalkeepers

1 Iker Casillas (c) Real Madrid 20 May 1981 (age 27) 82 (0)
13 Andrés Palop Sevilla 22 October 1973 (age 34) 0 (0)
23 José Manuel Reina Liverpool 31 August 1982 (age 25) 10 (0)

Defenders

2 Raúl Albiol Valencia 4 September 1985 (age 22) 6 (0)
3 Fernando Navarro Sevilla 25 June 1982 (age 26) 2 (0)
4 Carlos Marchena Valencia 31 July 1979 (age 28) 47 (2)
5 Carles Puyol Barcelona 13 April 1978 (age 30) 66 (1)
11 Joan Capdevila Villarreal 3 February 1978 (age 30) 23 (3)
15 Sergio Ramos Real Madrid 30 March 1986 (age 22) 39 (4)
18 Álvaro Arbeloa Liverpool 17 January 1983 (age 25) 3 (0)
20 Juanito Gutiérrez Real Betis 23 July 1976 (age 31) 23 (2)

Midfielders

6 Andrés Iniesta Barcelona 11 May 1984 (age 24) 29 (5)
8 Xavi Hernández Barcelona 25 January 1980 (age 28) 62 (7)
10 Cesc Fàbregas Arsenal 4 May 1987 (age 21) 32 (1)
12 Santi Cazorla Villarreal 13 December 1984 (age 23) 7 (0)
14 Xabi Alonso Liverpool 25 November 1981 (age 26) 47 (1)
16 Sergio García Zaragoza 9 June 1983 (age 25) 2 (0)
19 Marcos Senna Villarreal 17 July 1976 (age 31) 16 (0)
21 David Silva Valencia 8 January 1986 (age 22) 19 (3)
22 Rubén de la Red Real Madrid 5 June 1985 (age 23) 3 (1)

Strikers

7 David Villa Valencia 3 December 1981 (age 26) 35 (18)
9 Fernando Torres Liverpool 20 March 1984 (age 24) 54 (17)
17 Dani Güiza Fenerbahçe 17 August 1980 (age 27) 8 (2)

Current Manager: Vincente Del Bosque

Current Stars:

Fernando Torres (Liverpool) 54 caps, 17 goals
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid) 82 caps, 0 goals
David Villa (Valencia) 35 caps, 18 goals

Latest Results: 29/06/08 Spain 1 Germany 0 (Torres) Euro 2008 final

Upcoming fixtures: Denmark v Spain – 20/08/08 International Friendly

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