2014 World Cup: Analyzing Full Back Choices for Spain

By Aydin Reyhan
Juanfran Azpilicueta carvajal alba
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Spain will be looking to successfully defend their World Cup title this summer by playing and defeating some of the world’s very best. Last summer, they made the Confederations Cup final only to lose against this year’s hosts, Brazil, by a score of 3-0. Let’s remember that there they lacked focus on the defensive end, which is something that will not happen this year with an upgraded class of talent in the back line.

There are four choices at full back that head coach Vicente del Bosque is thinking of bringing along on the roster to South America. All four choices are more than capable of starting, but only two can do so in a 4-3-3 formation. Below, a short analysis on each player will be given to help you decide on who deserves the spot in the first XI.

Juanfran: The starting right back for Atletico Madrid has worn the captain’s armband at times in addition to maintaining a high level of form all season long. The team currently sits in first in the La Liga standings with two games still to be played. Whether he locks down a guy in his own defensive third or makes some impressive runs down the right flank to support the attack, he knows how to play in his position and others, with the best part of his game being that he can stay focused on the task for the entire game. Making little to no mistakes, he would be a perfect starter in this position for his country.

Daniel Carvajal: Locking down the right back position for Real Madrid, this young 22-year-old defender has proven time and time again that he has the strength, mentality and ability to breath down an attacker’s neck all game long to make life miserable for him. In addition, he sprints down the right flank to be another passing option which makes the lives of his attacking teammates easier. He could be the surprise starter, but he still has a bit to learn as he is still younger than most.

Cesar Azpilicueta: The Chelsea full back started out on the right, but he has eventually converted to the left as coach Jose Mourinho has requested of him. His attitude and never-ending energy has made him too valuable to bench throughout this season. He does at times commit needless fouls to make sure that momentum does not sway into the other direction. He also needs to work on his anger issues as playing the game to perfection should be his main priority. Defending and attacking are part of his repertoire which is why he should be a decent backup in the left back position this summer.

Jordi Alba: The Barcelona left-back is thinner and weaker than most, but his ability to run up and down the left flank all night long makes him quite valuable. In addition, he shows his scoring prowess by making deeper runs than the wingers and midfielders for both club and country to make the goalkeeper look foolish. He will be starting for his country once he is fully recovered from injuries he picked up this season.

This is a stacked bunch of full backs for Spain who can truly play a huge role in a successful World Cup defense. If Del Bosque uses them correctly by splitting their time evenly and fielding the ones who make the minimal amount of errors, they can turn out to be something special.

This summer will be a stepping stone for these players as they will be a part of the new future of Spanish international soccer.

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