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Spain’s Squad for FIFA World Cup 2022 & Team Profile

Luis Enrique announced the 26-man squad for Spain traveling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. In this article, check out the Spain FIFA World Cup 2022 squad, fixtures, lineups and team analysis.

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Last updated: 13.11.2022
Spain 2022 FIFA World Cup Squad and Team Profile

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Luis Enrique announced the 26-man squad for Spain traveling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. La Roja are one of the youngest teams in the competition and are in the mood to produce some aesthetic football in this edition. The squad was announced on Friday, 11 November 2022 a week before the tournament begins with the FIFA deadline for squad submission set on Monday.

 

World Cup History

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Spain have qualified for the FIFA World Cup 16 times including in the last 12 editions of the competition since their first appearance in 1934 in Italy. They missed out on five World Cups before 1978 but have qualified for every edition after that oscillating between group stages and quarterfinals until they lift the coveted trophy in 2010 in South Africa with a talented squad that dominated five years of international football between 2008 to 2012, winning the Euros in those years. Spain were not a powerhouse nation in football like they are now before that triumph with an incredible turn of fortunes in producing the best talents on earth and the class of Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez, Andreas Iniesta, David Villa, Fernando Torres and Sergio Ramos to name a few who will be known to revolutionize Spanish football and bring a new style of play to the footballing world known as the ‘tika-taka’ or possession based short and rapid passing football to nullify the opposition. The top teams around the world adopted the system and gain success which Spain will be renowned for forever. However, they did not quite manage to sustain their precision football for much longer as they failed to win any trophy after 2012 eliminated from the group stages of the 2014 World Cup and only made it to the round of 16 in the last edition of the tournament.

          

Previous Tournament

Spain had another stinker in the World Cup after the 2014 humiliation in Brazil with many of its stars in the ageing room and unable to show the brilliance of their prime. In a group pitted with rivals Portugal, Morocco and Tunisia it was less doubt this time for La Roja to make it out of the group stages but one which set panic alarms. The first game was a six-goal thriller against Portugal that ended 3-3 trailing by an early penalty from Cristiano Ronaldo who denied them a winner with a late free-kick finishing his hat-trick in the game where Diego Costa scored twice before a stunning volley by Nacho Fernandez. Costa scored again in the next group game to grind out a 1-0 win against Iran before an intense against Morocco where Spain had to come from behind to stay in the competition for one more round in a 2-2 draw. In the last 16 stages, Spain faced the hosts Russia and despite taking an early lead in the game went out 4-3 on penalties with Iago Aspas missing the deciding spot-kick after the opposition scored from the spot before half-time to force extra time.

          

Qualification

Spain had a tough challenge of Sweden and Greece in their World Cup qualifying group and at one time almost let the former top the group which the Blue and Yellows failed to take advantage of. Recovering from a mini downfall which almost threatened their place in the finals, La Roja finished top of their group with six wins, a draw and a defeat from eight games and four points better than Sweden who finished second. Spain scored 15 goals and conceded just five over the period taking more points in away games than at home. Barcelona’s Ferran Torres came out top scorer for his nation in the qualification with four goals with Jordi Alba making the most number of assists, also four. Goalkeeper Unai Simon managed to keep three clean sheets.

      

Preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Like other European nations, Spain’s preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup came in this season’s Nations League campaign in which they ended as finalists last year. They had a decent campaign starting with two draws against Portugal and the Czech Republic but joined the winning party soon with a 1-0 over Switzerland and a 2-0 win against the Czechs facing them at home in the fixtures played in June. September started with a jolt, a surprise 2-1 loss to Switzerland but managed to regather themselves in the decisive Iberian derby where a late Alvaro Morata’s winner against Portugal secured top spot in the group and placed them in the semi-finals of the competition next year. Spain also won the two friendlies played in March prior to the Nations League winning 2-1 against Albania and thrashing Iceland 5-0 while also having a pre-World Cup friendly lined up against Jordan on Thursday, 17th November.           

 

Spain FIFA World Cup squad

 

Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Club), Robert Sanchez (Brighton & Hove Albion), David Raya (Brentford FC).

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea FC), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Eric Garcia (FC Barcelona), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia CF), Pau Torres (Villarreal CF), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Jordi Alba (FC Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia CF)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (FC Barcelona), Rodri Hernandez (Manchester City), Gavi (FC Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris St Germain), Marcos Llorente (Atletico de Madrid), Pedri Gonzalez (FC Barcelona), Koke (Atletico de Madrid)

Forwards: Ferran Torres (FC Barcelona), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Yeremi Pino (Villarreal CF), Alvaro Morata (Atletico de Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Pablo Sarabia (Paris St Germain), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Ansu Fati (FC Barcelona)

 

Coach: Luis Enrique

 

With only 34-year-old Sergio Busquets remaining from the 2010 World Cup triumph squad, Spain have almost turnover the generation of the golden years of Spanish football. Another Sergio, Ramos could have been part of the squad but he has long gone from the books of Luis Enrique having not made the Euro squad last year for the first time and won’t be participating in the World Cup for the first time as well despite being the record appearance maker for his nation with 140 caps. Luis Enrique also did not call up David de Gea, Iago Aspas, Thiago Alcantara, Nacho Fernandez and Rodrigo who made the roster in the 2018 World Cup with only Barcelona pair Busquets and Jordi Alba included from the previous edition. Inigo Martinez also missed out after rejecting early call-ups due to fitness concerns. Left-back Alex Balde impressed the manager to earn a call-up in September but did not make the World Cup squad for not maintaining his excellent start to the club campaign.  20-year-old Ansu Fati also got the nod even not being in his finest form while he is one of the seven players from Barcelona including exciting prodigies Pedri and Gavi making up the squad.  Valencia’s Hugo Guillamon has made the cut so is Nico Williams of Athletic Club after making his debut for La Roja in the Nations League game back in September.

 

Strength

The strength for Spain is their young and vibrant squad that wants to mimic their past glory in the competition. La Roja have unfolded a new talented generation of football who is here to write a new history in the contest by carrying the moment from their run to the semi-finals of the Euro 2020 and to the Nations League final last season. They have a coach in Luis Enrique who selects players not for the sake of it but rather the ones he has a belief in creating a sensational team spirit in the dressing room. This unity will be vital for this Spanish squad to keep them longer in the contest. The midfield will be one of the best in the showpiece with Sergio Busquets still capable to pull the string with Rodri of Manchester City an incredible back-up with Gavi and Pedri beaming in their talent. Koke, Carlos Soler and Marcos Llorente will bring a stupendous work rate to the middle of the park. Spain’s goalkeeping department is also eye-catching where they have strengthened in passing out from the back and are equally good in shot-stopping ability.

  

Weakness

Spain are expected to control the pace for almost the entirety of the game and drive the football towards the box where they find the biggest issue haunting them for years. As talented or exciting as this Spanish squad may look, La Roja are still searching for the definitive and scoring number nine. Alvaro Morata is certainly not the finisher Spain demands where Ferran Torres has been played everywhere on the forward line but the middle recently for Barcelona with a doubt hanging over him too to produce enough goals required for the side to go deep into the contest. Wingers have chipped in with goals in the qualification rounds like Pablo Sarabia, also doing in major competitions like in Euro 2020 while Dani Olmo and Ansu Fati are more than capable to fire useful strikes but Spain still lacks a Fernando Torres, David Villa or even a Diego Costa in the team to just smash the net. Teams that have gone far in the contest have often had a lethal striker upfront which Spain are struggling with and that could be a major worry for Luis Enrique even though his side can spread the goals among them.


Star Player: Pedri

Pedri’s brilliance became known to the world when FC Barcelona snapped in from Las Palmas as the next hot midfield prospect in Spain. The 19-year-old plays like he is ten years older in his prime with a bag full of experience when this is only the fourth year of his senior career. Irrespective of the team’s performance, Pedri is always consistent in keeping his team ticking with his passes. Running into half spaces, linking up the attack or holding up his runs for a cut-back to come up with necessary strikes. He has everything in the locker. For the national team, he was full of energy and intent in the last Euros even during extra time as if his stamina level never drops making him an asset to the side. Alongside 18-year-old Gavi and veteran Busquets, Pedri will be crucial to dictate play in Spain’s midfield and the star player with everyone’s eyes peeled.      

 

Opponent & Fixtures

Spain vs Costa Rica - Al Thumama Stadium, 23 November 2022 (9:30 PM)

Spain vs Germany - Al Bayt Stadium, 28 November 2022 (12:30 AM)

Japan vs Spain - Khalifa International Stadium - 2 December 2022 (12:30 AM) 

 

Spain begins the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with an easy fixture on paper against Costa Rica although the nation that can trigger shocks in the competition. Luis Enrique’s men will wish for all three points in the opening game to prepare for a gigantic clash against Germany five days later. Irrespective of the result in that game because of the magnitude and stakes of an early big opponent clash, La Roja have to target the last group stage game against Japan to achieve a possible six points from the group having not taken the result of Germany’s game into consideration.

   

How will Spain Lineup at the FIFA World Cup 2022?

 


Unai Simon continues to be number one for Spain with stern competition from David Raya and Robert Sanchez, both of them in terrific form with their club. Aymeric Laporte is the mainstay in central defence with Enrique using either Eric Garcia, Pau Torres or Hugo Gallimon to partner him flanked by the experienced Daniel Carvajal and Jordi Alba. Despite not being at his peak, Sergio Busquets still holds the upper hand for his passing brilliance that only few could match with Gavi’s precision run and Pedri’s brain doing the trick for Spain in midfield. The forward line will be exposed to more rotational policy although Alvaro Morata is still the trusted lieutenant of his manager with Pablo Sarabia and either of Ferran Tores or Dani Olmo taking the responsibility on the left.

        

Prediction 

Spain have a vibrant squad in the mix filled with a lot of ambition to drive to the latter stages of competition proven by their latest exploits in the Euros and the Nations League. Luis Enrique has an excellent connection with players and is ready to take the blame for them with the players too repaying the faith binding them together. Such a strong bond will be necessary for a team that holds a lot of potential yet this could be little too early for this group to come against the South American duo of Brazil and Argentina or even European juggernauts England, Netherlands or defending champions France. Nevertheless, a deep run into the competition is expected again from this squad.

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