The reigning Champions will be hoping to find the form that saw them lift the cup in 2012 after a disappointing World Cup in Brazil. After years in the wilderness on the international stage, Spain came to the fore in the Euro's of 2008 as they snatched the title from Germany winning 1-0 and from there never looked back. The Spanish were heavy favourites for the preceding World Cup in 2010 and duly obliged winning most games comfortably and wrapping up the tournament with a 1-0 win against the Netherlands adding the World Cup to the Euro's already won.
If that wasn't enough, they then claimed their 3rd tournament in a row at Euro 2012, cementing their claim as one of the best sides ever 'allegedly pharmaceutically' put together. This run came to a shuddering halt in Brazil as the Spanish failed to get past the group stages and proved to the rest of the world finally that this team was beatable.
A bounce back to form came in qualifying for Euro 2016 as Spain topped Group C only dropping 3 points in the process and with an impressive goal difference of + 20. Spain have always been an established footballing country due to the quality of their national leagues and opportunity's for their young players is plentiful in the club sides. This has allowed Spain to inherit some of the greatest players of their generation.
International superstars litter Spain's team sheet from the goalkeeper David De Gea to the Forward prowess of Diego Costa and with new players coming through it results in a younger side than the one that made the trip to Brazil. These youthful Spaniards will be hoping to do far better than in 2014 and again reach the heights of previous incarnations.
Spain will be hoping to re-kindle their form of 4 years ago and continue their domination of International football after a lack lustre World cup. If they can get back to their best, then this Spanish team will be very competitive at Euro 2016 and there is no reason to think that they can't as they have retained the same manager in Vicente Del Bosque and the style of play is very similar to what it previously was.
It may be argued that due to some retirements the Spanish squad has been weakened, but there has also been some new blood coming through and their performances in qualifying show that this team may be as good as ever. Of course we will not know how this side shapes up to the rest of Europe's elite until they start their campaign, but the Spanish cannot be ruled out and you can be assured that they will be going all out to retain the trophy.
|Sweden||1992||Did not qualify||-|
|Belgium / Netherlands||2000||Quarter-finals||5|
|Austria / Switzerland||2008||Champions||1|
|Poland / Ukraine||2012||Champions||1|
After years in the doldrums, Spain found a way to win, literally found it - allegedly in some Spanish clinic. Enough said.
|12.06.16||14.00||Turkey||0 - 1||Croatia|
|13.06.16||14.00||Spain||1 - 0||Czech Republic|
|17.06.16||17.00||Czech Republic||2 - 2||Croatia|
|17.06.16||20.00||Spain||3 - 0||Turkey|
|21.06.16||20.00||Czech Republic||0 - 2||Turkey|
|21.06.16||20.00||Croatia||2 - 1||Spain|
The Spanish will have a tricky group to contend with at Euro 2016. Croatia, Turkey and the Czech Republic will await them, and while Spain will be favourites to top the group it will not be straight forward. Croatia come into this tournament in great form with one of the best squads they have ever assembled, this makes the final game between these two sides very interesting as this could be the decider to see who finishes first and ultimately gets the easier draw in the knockout stages.
Even without Croatia, this group is tough, the Czech Republic are a well known side internationally and have historically been a hard team to beat while Turkey arrive in France unbeaten in their last 8 and are full of confidence. Spain will have to be at their very best to try and avoid the same fate as what happened at the World Cup when they went out in the group stage, but this side will have learned from previous mistakes and should not only qualify but top the group as well.
This Spanish side is certainly good enough to go all the way, but may struggle later on in the competition. There are many players in this side who don't have the experience of playing in the later stages of international competition and this might find them out, however, it will only be a quality side that beats the Spaniards and the chances are that this will come in Semi-finals.
Below is a list of the 4 teams drawn in Group D and their FIFA World Ranking, as you can see, Spain are the highest ranked team, with Turkey just behind, followed by Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Paco Alcacer who plies his trade at Valencia scored 5 goals in 8 appearances during qualifying and his 5 goal haul was the most of any Spanish player. 22 years old, his best years are ahead of him and he may be able to shine bright at Euro 2016 if the rest of the team puts a shift in behind him. David Silva also chipped in with 3 qualifying goals to ensure a smooth passage through to Euro 2016.
The Spanish will first have to negotiate a tricky group. Croatia and Turkey could cause problems for Spain but it would be expected that they would at least take 4 points from these 2 fixtures and then ease past the Czech Republic to put them on 7 points and most likely top of Group D. They would then face a team in the last 16 that had finished 2nd in their group and again would be expected to get past them and reach the Quarter-finals. At this point in the competition Spain will have grown in confidence and put behind them their experience at the World Cup in Brazil which will make them a team to be feared.
Their possession style of football will undoubtedly be an asset against the top sides and their record at the later stages of recent tournaments is impeccable. A worry for Spain is the lack of a main striker but this has not affected them in previous competitions and they will be making a bold bid to try and win the European Championships for a third consecutive time. The recommendation for Spain though would only be a Semi-final finish as against a side with the attacking options of Germany or France the Spanish defence may come undone and a third title may just be beyond them.
In my view the player to watch is Gerard Pique. He is not an offensive contributor to the side and does not possess the attacking flair that some others do in this squad but he is undoubtedly one of the most vital players for them. With him in the side during qualifying Spain only conceded 3 goals in their entire campaign and his leadership ability's and organisational skills are surely one of the big contributors to this impressive statistic. As this tournament goes on the Spanish defence will come under increased pressure and Pique will be the man that they rely on to hold everything together at the back and let the forward line of the Spanish side play with freedom.
Spain's style of football is usually recognised as the most fluid and attractive of any international team in the world. They usually play a very high line from their defence and push the forward players right onto the oppositions back line which means that they can pressurise as soon as they lose the ball in the enemy's half.
Going forward Spain have some of the most creative players in the world. As they play such a high line it allows the creative units to advance and receive the ball in very dangerous positions. If the Spanish midfield is allowed to control the ball and dictate the play then they are usually very hard to stop as they can play a defence splitting pass in an instant and break the hearts of the opposition. A slight worry is that with the pressure that Spain put on the opposition they do leave gaps in behind and are susceptible to a counter attack, this will have to be a worry against the quicker and more direct sides in the tournament.