Spain World Cup Preview 2018
We sat down with Spanish Football expert David Cartlidge (@davidjaca), to discuss the Spanish chances at the World Cup...
What did you make of the squad?
David: I thought it was the perfect squad from Lopetegui. He picked players on merit above all. It was hard to pick a fault with anything in all honesty. Alvaro Morata was the main gripe for many but only people in the Madrid media given he came from that club. It really was a faultless squad selection from Lopetegui.
Any surprise inclusions/omissions?
David: As I mentioned, Morata. Other than that the squad was as many expected with no major surprises.
Where do you think Spain stand at this World Cup?
David: I think they arrive into the tournament in excellent shape. The injury to Dani Carvajal was unfortunate and the only black mark of sorts. My concerns centre around facing teams that play very deep, as always. If Spain can navigate that they should not really face many issues in flying through the tournament.
Do you see them being amongst the favourites?
David: Absolutely. This team is in transition given younger players are being integrated, but overall they can go all the way. As in, winning it.What do you believe will be the key to their success this summer? I think the creative players will be vital. There are plenty of them and should they build up rhythm then it could spell trouble for opponents. Isco is vital now in terms of easing the burden on Andres Iniesta, so expect him to show a lot of responsibility.
Are there expectations on a certain player? Or is the focus largely on the team as a whole?
David: I think it's a team thing. When you look at the team, there is no player that is in the best three in the world. It's more about the team now and Spain have been this way for several years now. It's good to move away from the individual reliance that others are burdened by.
On Andres Iniesta, it looks like it'll be his last tournament for Spain. Can we expect a starring role for him?
David: I think that he will be important as ever. Yes there are several creative players, but Iniesta is the leader of them. He can still unlock defences and that is something Spain desperately need.
On the other side then, are there any young players we should keep an eye out for in the Spanish team?
David: I'd say that Odriozola could play a key part. He offers natural width down the right, with searing speed and ability to slip in behind defences.
And finally, what is your honest prediction for Spain at the World Cup?
David: Losing finalists.