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Euro 2016: Spain Fact File

Euro 2016: David Silva celebrates his goal in Spain's 6-1 win over South Korea

Euro 2016: David Silva celebrates his goal in Spain's 6-1 win over South Korea

Four years ago, Vicente del Bosque’s side became the first country to defend their European Championship title.

With their reputation as world football powerhouses wavering following a catastrophic defence of their World Cup crown, can La Roja make it an unprecedented Euro treble in France?

 

The Group

 

Group D: Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Croatia

 

Spain find themselves paired with two of the tournament's potential dark horses in Turkey and Croatia.


Barcelona’s Arda Turan and set-piece specialist Hakan Calhanoglu will look to supply the clinical Burak Yilmaz for Turkey while Croatia’s spoil of offensive riches in Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic and Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic could infiltrate the staunchest of defenses.


Even with the threat of Turkey and Croatia, Spain will still be expected to top Group D.


City Representatives

 

David Silva


Despite the Blues only having one representative in Del Bosque’s squad, it’s quite a special one.

 

Sitting on 98 international appearances, David Silva is certain to win his 100th cap in France.


The fact he has played so many games for a nation blessed with some of the greatest midfielders of a generation is testament to his supernatural ability and importance to Spain’s all-conquering side.


They say

 

Silva: “Winning this championship three times in a row is a complicated challenge, but we will try.

 

“It will not be easy to repeat the past successes, because there are very strong teams at the European Championship.

 

“I feel much better and I am very eager to play with Spain and to play great matches. It will be a very competitive and great tournament.”

 

Key Player

 

Alvaro Morata

 

Spain’s midfield-rich side lack a go-to striker such as David Villa or Fernando Torres, who finished as top scorers in Euro 2008 and 2012 respectively.

 

Coming off the back of another successful, title-winning season in Serie A with Juventus, Alvaro Morata has the pace, tenacity and finishing ability to take on Spain’s goal-scoring mantle in the absence of the much-maligned Diego Costa.

 

The Coach

 

Del Bosque is likely to bow out as La Roja manager after the tournament and the highly decorated manager has some questions to answer after a crushing World Cup exit.

 

Known as being fiercely loyal, Del Bosque has come under criticism for standing by Iker Casillas on his slow and painful fall from grace, while ignoring David De Gea’s Manchester United form.

 

However, the introduction of the likes of Morata and Celta Vigo forward Nolito has added a breath of fresh air into what seemed to be a stagnating squad.

 

How they got there

 

Spain raced to the top of their Euro 2016 qualifying group with nine wins out of 10, succumbing to a 2-1 away loss to Slovakia.

 

La Roja kept eight consecutive clean sheets following the Slovakia loss, and scored in the first half-hour of seven qualifying games.

 

Why they’ll win

 

A team swarmed with serial winners such as Silva, Sergio Ramos, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets will be desperate to redeem themselves for their World Cup horror show.

 

Having reacted well to losing Xavi, David Villa and Xabi Alonso to retirement by integrating the exuberant Morata and Thiago to a staggeringly talented side, Spain have more than what it takes to make history this summer.

 

Why they might not

 

Losing 1-0 at home to Georgia last week won’t fill the players or nation with much optimism going into the tournament.

 

If Spain are slow to dust of their World Cup cobwebs they may well finish second in Group D and face the tough prospect of facing the winners of Group E, most likely Belgium or Italy, in the last 16.

 

Schedule

 

Monday 13 June, Spain v Czech Republic, 2pm

 

Friday 17 June, Spain v Turkey, 8pm

 

Tuesday 21 June, Spain v Croatia, 8pm

 

Betsafe odds to win outright

 

49/10

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