World Cup | Will the final chapter for Spain’s golden generation have a happy ending?

Unlike many other countries, Spain managed to take their golden generation and turn it into trophies.

They managed to win European Championships in 2008 and 2012, but the real highlight – and the one that will bring back the fondest of memories – is the World Cup victory in 2010.

Many of the key players from that era have called time on their international careers, with Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol, David Villa, Xavi Hernandez, Fernando Torres, and Xabi Alonso all either retired or no longer involved with the national team, but there are still six survivors from the 2010 side, who will be hoping to earn a second World Cup win.

Pepe Reina will be a substitute goalkeeper again this summer, while Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, and Sergio Busquets will all be expecting to play in Russia.

Busquets is the youngest of the six at 29 years old, so he might be back in four years time, but the next youngest is Pique, who at 31 probably won’t play in Qatar 2022, and he has already said that this will be his last tournament with Spain.

Therefore, this is realistically the last batch of players from that generation who will play together at the World Cup, so can they win another title?

There’s no clear favourite coming into this tournament and it looks like at least half a dozen nations will have a chance of glory this summer.

Spain are one of those teams and their squad is extremely strong, especially in midfield, where Julen Lopetegui is going to have to make some tough choices as he simply can’t play all of the players at his disposal.

Defensively, they could field a back four consisting of just Barcelona and Real Madrid players, which considering their success over the last few year,s would make them among the best in the competition.

The one potential weakness in the squad is in attack as none of their forwards have great international records, but Diego Costa and Iago Aspas have both been in decent form with their clubs, so if they can bring that to Russia then there’s no reason why Spain can’t win their second World Cup.

Players like Xavi, Alonso, and Casillas are difficult to replace although in David de Gea they have one of the best goalkeepers in the game, so it could be said that Casillas has been adequately replaced.

The likes of Isco, Thiago, Koke, and Saul Niguez are also world class performers and this is their opportunity to show the world that they are capable of gaining legendary status like Xavi and Alonso did before them.

Spain will have a baptism of fire in Group B, with an early clash with their Iberian neighbours Portugal on the cards, but they should still get out of the group and then it’s anyone’s game.

it will take a very good side to beat them – and such a team might not even exist – which could see Spain going all the way to Moscow on 15th July.

Gerry Johnston

 

This article originally appeared on gj2018worldcup.wordpress.com, where you can find a definite World Cup guide.