World Cup 2014: Why Spain are the Odds-on Favorites

By Greg Sulik
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

As the 2014 World Cup draw approaches, much of the talk focuses on who the favorites for the trophy will face in the group stage. Most agree Spain, Brazil and Germany are the co-favorites to win the World Cup, though there is plenty of disagreement about which is the most likely. Spain, however, is the only one of the three that can claim to have won Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. This generation of Spanish players is one of the greatest sides ever to play the game, and they want to continue their run of dominance.

In my opinion, Spain still posses the most talented, deepest and most experienced team in the world. Spain has a wealth of riches in the midfield that cannot be matched. Spain’s midfield includes Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquests, David Silva, Juan Mata, Xabi Alonso and Jesus Navas. Players as talented as Isco, Santi Cazorla and Thiago Alcantara can scarcely find playing time. This incredible depth allows Spain to play matchups, stay fresh, easily cover for injuries and lose nothing when substitutions are made. No team in the world can match their midfield.

However, the midfield is not the only area in which Spain is strong. Their back four is very solid, led by Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique. Jordi Alba, Alvaro Arbeloa, Javi Martinez and Cesar Azpilicueta are among the options that round out a strong defense that is also capable of supporting the attack. Iker Casillas and Victor Valdes give Spain two excellent goalkeepers, and it should be very difficult for opponents to find the net.

Striker was considered the only weakness of the Spanish team until recently, when Diego Costa was granted Spanish citizenship and joined the squad. Costa has been absolutely on fire in La Liga for Atletico Madrid, and he gives Spain a true No. 9 to finish off the many chances created by Spain’s attacking midfielders. Fernando Torres is finding form for Chelsea, and he could provide another attacking option. Add in players like Pedro, Michu, Alvaro Negredo and Fernando Llorente, and Spain should have solid options up front.

This list of names means that Vincente Del Bosque will have an extremely difficult time choosing just 23 men to bring to Brazil, but it also ensures that the players he brings will be the best of the best. Spain’s squad has spent years playing together at various levels of the national team, and much of team plays their club football together at either Barcelona or Real Madrid. Their experience, chemistry and talent is a lethal combination that only Germany can approach.

Spain is the best team in the world, and they have been for some time. They will have to overcome the hostile Brazilian crowds and a wealth of strong opposition, but they are more than capable of overcoming any and all obstacles. Spain is the favorite for the World Cup right now, and I expect them to raise the trophy once again next summer.

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