Spain World Cup squad guide: Full fixtures, group, ones to watch, odds and more

PROFILE: With the tournament only days away we take an in-depth look at all 32 teams in Russia

Jack Watson
Monday 11 June 2018 15:40 BST
2018 Russia World Cup in numbers

After crashing out of the Euros in the round of 16 against Italy, it looked like Spain, who had been so dominant in world football for so long, had finally run out of ideas and that their golden generation had passed their peak. The 2-0 defeat in France spelled the end of Vicente Del Bosque’s eight-year run as Spain manager, after winning a World Cup and European Championship.

However, a new manager and a new core of Spanish players has emerged. Julen Lopetegui has an exciting new generation of young players in his World Cup squad: Marco Asensio, Lucas Vazquez and Isco, who are surprisingly low capped but very talented.

Among the squad, there were some surprise Premier League omissions with Hector Bellerin, Alvaro Morata and Cesc Fabregas all missing out. That level of depth tells you this year could be Spain’s.


Portugal vs Spain – 19:00, Friday 6 June.
Iran vs Spain – 19:00, Wednesday 20 June.
Spain vs Morocco – 19:00, Monday 25 June

Key players

David De Gea: With Iker Casillas out of the picture, Spain had big shoes to fill. However, they have replaced the Spain and Real Madrid legend with little bother. In De Gea they have arguably the best and most in form goalkeeper in the world. All season he has been producing saves which you feel most ordinary goalkeepers would not even think about saving and his form for Manchester United has been so good that you wonder when he does concede whether he could have done better. Should Spain let a knockout games go to penalties, De Gea has a 35 per cent save record.

Isco has emerged as one of Spain’s top talents (AFP/Getty Images)

Isco: While Andres Iniesta is still a part of this Spanish squad and one of the best midfielders in the world, he does need replacing. Like with De Gea and Casillas, Spain have Isco who is primed to take over from Iniesta and David Silva as the attacking creative player in the team. Isco tends to start on either wing and cut inside to allow the full-back to overlap him and attack the wing. In a friendly against Argentina in March, the Real Madrid midfielder started on the right and scored a 47-minute hat-trick in a 6-1 win. His passing is excellent too. In the two legs against Juventus in the Champions League, he played 100 passes and misplaced just one of them.

Sergio Ramos: Everyone’s favourite central defender. Sergio Ramos is one of the most technically gifted defenders in world football and his win-at-all-costs personality means he has done just that. It is likely that Spain will play against Egypt in the last 16 of the tournament, which will be around a month after his tackle on Mohamed Salah forced the latter to come off in the Champions League final in the 30th minute and place his World Cup fitness in doubt. The backlash has been enormous – one Egyptian lawyer has taken out a €1bn lawsuit against the Real Madrid and Spain captain and a petition to get him punished has amassed over half a million signatures.

Ones to watch

Marco Asensio: After winning the Under-19 European Championship with Spain, Marco Asensio has gone on to win two Champions Leagues, one La Liga title, two FIFA Club World Cups and two Uefa Super Cups with Real Madrid, and he is only 22. Asensio has just 10 caps to his name and will be representing the first team in a major tournament for the first time. He is yet to score for his country, but has netted some eye-catching goals for Madrid.

How did they get here?

Spain were unbeaten in their qualifying group and only dropped points against Italy when they drew 1-1 in Turin. They were the second top goal scorers (36) behind Germany (43) and conceded the least amount of goals (3), joint with England.

How will they do?

The number of trophies this group of players have won, as individuals and as a group, imply that winning this year’s World Cup is not a far-fetched dream. At the back they have De Gea, Ramos and Pique who form a solid defence. Sergio Busquets, Iniesta, Silva and Isco form a menacing midfield, and the team is rounded off with Diego Costa up front. It is hard not to look at that side and think ‘winners’. If they can forget their Euro 2016 form, there is every chance Spain will lift their second World Cup.

Odds on winning the tournament: 6/1


Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa

Defenders: Dani Carvajal, Sergio Ramos, Nacho, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, Nacho Monreal, Cesar Azpilicueta, Odriozola

Midfield: Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Saúl, Koke, Thiago, Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio, Lucas Vázquez,

Forward: Iago Aspas, Rodrigo, Diego Costa

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