A dynasty is defined as a family or team very powerful or successful for a long period of time. In the footballing world we call that Spain, or La Furia Roja. They are the reigning World Cup and two-time European champs that turned the international football world upside down.
The ‘tiki-taka’ masters of the universe enter Brazil in Group B facing the Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Some things change, but the solidarity of Xavi and Iniesta in the midfield doesn’t change for the Spaniards. Except, unlike the teams in the past the squad enters the tournament with options up front, including one of La Liga’s most clinical finishers.
Brazilian born Diego Costa has joined the Spanish national squad this competition to bolster the attack without adding another midfielder. The future Chelsea forward, Costa, scored 36 goals in 56 appearances in 2013-2014 for Atletico Madrid in a ruthless manner in front of goal. Adding to the threat up front are veterans Pedro, David Villa and Fernando Torres. Villa has confirmed the World Cup will be his final appearance for La Furia. Vicente Del Bosque choosing Torres over Alvaro Neared could come back to haunt him.
The team, I mean, midfield is based on players that can move the ball better than the best pool hustlers in the world. The precision and pace the midfielders flow with has created one of sports best partnerships. Household names such as Xavi and Iniesta have been the driving force in the team’s success. The fact that Spain hasn’t lost a match when Iniesta scores is absurd – and includes the 2010 World Cup winning goal by an assist from a “reserve,” Cesc Fabregas.
That’s the thing, Spain’s reserves aren’t just any spare members on the team. They include David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla and Koke.
All right, now the defense is where this part gets a little messed up without long serving Carles Puyol. Del Bosque has two for sure starters in Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos – leaving Jordi Alba, Juanfran Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta, Javi Martinez (a midfielder) and Raul Albiol to play for the two remaining spots.
Ramos is arguably playing the best football of his career since moving to center back, including a goal in the Champions League Final.
Last but not least is the final piece in the Spanish dynasty. Iker Casillas, the captain that has been in goal since 2002. He is the most capped Spanish player (153), and set a record for 817 minutes of play not allowing a goal. Casillas is still ahead of Pepe Reina and David De Gea in the pecking order in what could be his last international tournament.
With La Roja’s experience and 6-1 odds it’s hard not to call them a favorite. The team seems to have lost a step, but you can never discount them when the time nears stoppage and a winning goal calls their name.