Team Preview: Spain

FIFA Ranking: 1

Euro history: Spain has won two European Championships with 44 years separating the first from the second. Spain most recently won in 2008, which broke a long trophy drought.

How they qualified: Spain went 8-0-0 in a group that included Czech Republic, Scotland, Lithuania and Liechtenstein. The Spaniards finished with a goal differential of +20.

Group information and schedule: Spain is in Group C with Italy, Ireland and Croatia. All matches will be played in Poland.

June 10 vs. Italy in Gdansk

June 14 vs. Ireland in Gdansk

June 18 vs. Croatia in Gdansk

Early roster thoughts: The talent pool for Spain has drastically improved over the last decade. The team has so many options that even a second choice Spain team could compete against a first team Germany or Netherlands. Real Madrid Iker Casillas is still one of the best goalkeepers in the world. The Spanish defense might be their weakness especially after the injury to Carlos Puyol. The midfield is Spain’s strength. Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets are reliable holding midfielders. The Barcelona duo of Andres Iniesta and Xavi are locks to start if healthy. Up front, Spain will miss David Villa, but can turn to Fernando Torres and his improving form.

How they will do: Spain would be the clear favorite with a fully healthy roster. With Puyol and Villa out, Spain has capable replacements, but those two were starters for Spain’s World Cup run. Spain might have to play France or England in the quarterfinals.

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