Don’t write Spain off for 2014 World Cup, the era isn’t over
The Confederations Cup has already proved a major eye-opener for Spain once before when dumped out by the USA in the 2009 semi finals and it would be no surprise if their humbling by Brazil this time sparks another upturn in fortunes.
Given the international success experienced by Spain in recent years, it is somewhat of a travesty that they are fourth favourites to win the 2014 World Cup, with Ladbrokes’ top price of 6/1 looking far too good to refuse.
After the 2009 defeat, Vincent Del Bosque changed his midfield tactics to incorporate a second deeper midfielder, with the pairing of Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso still in existence today.
Alonso’s absence from the Confederations Cup meant that Del Bosque changed his strategy, moving the more forward-thinking Andres Iniesta back centrally, having typically started from the left in recent tournaments.
This left Spain too open and Brazil took full advantage.
Moving forward, it is hard not to see Javi Martinez becoming a key feature of the national team and although he doesn’t necessarily possess the level of technical skill of some of his peers, his energetic and bustling style may prove the next adaptation needed by Del Bosque.
Thiago Alcantara is another that is more box-to-box than many of Spain’s other midfield options and there are signs that the tika-taka style that they have utilised with great success is being surpassed by a strategy more focussed on structured pressing and getting the ball forward quicker.
Del Bosque will now know, if he didn’t already, that bringing some new blood into the first team may be needed, rather than relying on many of the same group of players for the last five years.
A new centre forward would additionally do Spain the world of good, as Fernando Torres still seems to be lacking something despite ending the Confederations Cup as the tournament’s top scorer.
A pure finisher in the mould of a younger David Villa would be ideal, while Alvaro Arbeloa doesn’t fit the system from right-back.
Spain in reality should still be favourites to win the World Cup, although it is understandable as to why Brazil have been supported into 10/3 with their victory and home advantage.
However, there is no logical reason why Argentina come next in the World Cup betting at 5/1, given that they haven’t made it beyond a quarter final since 1990 and have only drawn with Colombia and Ecuador in their most recent qualifiers.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.