Spain Team Fact Box

2010-05-12 13:35
Previous appearances in finals: 12

Nickname: The Red Fury,The Red ,The Fury, The Selection

Best performance: 4th in 1950

Coach: Vicente del Bosque. Enjoyed a successful playing career with Real Madrid and Spain before leading Real to two Champions Leagues and two league titles as coach. The down-to-earth 58-year-old succeeded Luis Aragones after Spain's triumph at Euro 2008 and guided them to 10 wins out of 10 in their qualifying campaign.

Captain: Iker Casillas

Key players:

Xavi
Age: 29
Position: Midfield
Club: Barcelona
FIFA World Cup Finals appearances: 7 (2002, 2006)
Goals: 0

One of the most complete midfield orchestrators around, Xavi was a key reason both for Spain's success at Euro 2008 and Barcelona's record-breaking treble of titles last season. Diego Maradona said this month if he could have one player from the Spain squad in his Argentina side it would be Xavi.

David Villa
Age: 27
Position: Striker
Club: Valencia
FIFA World Cup Finals appearances: 4 (2006)
Goals: 3

Villa has a superb scoring record for Spain, netting 35 in only 54 appearances to put him second on the all-time top scorers' chart behind Raul, who has 44 from 102 games. Villa was the leading marksman at Euro 2008 with four goals despite missing the final through injury.

Iker Casillas
Age: 28
Position: Goalkeeper
Club: Real Madrid
FIFA World Cup Finals appearances: 8 (2002, 2006)
Goals: 0

Widely regarded as one of the world's top three keepers, team captain Casillas made his Spain debut in June 2000 at the age of 19 and made his 100th appearance against Argentina this month. His two penalty saves in the quarter-final shootout against Italy at Euro 2008 are seen as a turning point in Spain's international fortunes.

Fernando Torres
Age: 26
Position: Striker
Club: Liverpool
FIFA World Cup Finals appearances: 4 (2006)
Goals: 3

A key strikeforce for Premiership club Liverpool over a number of seasons, this injury beset player will look to make as big an impact at the 2010 FIFA World Cup as he did in 2006, where he scored 3 times for his country.

FIFA world ranking May 2010: 1

How they qualified: Spain booked their place in South Africa with two matches to spare and went on to win all 10 qualifiers. They scored vital home and away victories against Turkey, including a comeback 2-1 win in Istanbul, and followed that up with a 5-0 mauling of Belgium and a 3-0 defeat of Estonia to secure qualification.

Prospects: After their success at Euro 2008, which ended a 44-year wait for a major trophy, and their impressive qualifying campaign, Spain are many people's favourites to win what would be their first World Cup. With the canny Del Bosque in charge and a deep squad it would be a major surprise if they did not make at least the last four.

World Cup Squad

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Jose Manuel Reina (Liverpool/ENG), Victor Valdes (Barcelona).

Defenders: Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa (all Real Madrid), Joan Capdevila (Villarreal), Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol (both Barcelona), Carlos Marchena (Valencia).

Midfielders: Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal/ENG), Sergio Busquets, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta (all Barcelona), Javier Martinez (Athletic Bilbao).

Forwards: Juan Manuel Mata, David Silva, David Villa (all Valencia), Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Fernando Torres (Liverpool/ENG), Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Fernando Llorente (Athletic de Bilbao).


Fernando Torres will look to make a real impact up front for Spain during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. (AFP)

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