FIFA World Cup 2022 Spain National Team|History

Spain national team-Spain’s national men’s football team is one of the most successful national teams in world football. It has won three Euro Championships and One World Cup. Spain is one of the top 10 teams in the soccer world.

Spain has qualified 16 times out of 22 FIFA World Cups. In the Qatar World Cup qualifying campaign, Spain earned 19 points in Group B from the UEFA region and hence automatically selected for the Winter World Cup.  Spain has provided many of the greatest footballers in world football.

Let’s get into details of Spanish football history, greatest players of the 21st century, squad, and much more in this article.

Brief History of Spanish Football

Early History

Spain’s royal government founded the Royal Spanish Football Federation in 1909. Spain played their first international match which tied France 1-1 in 1913. They officially formed their national team to take part in the Summer Olympics in 1920.

Spain national squad in 1920 Olympic Games
Spain national team at the 1920 Olympic Games. Source: Wikimedia

In the debut match, Spain defeated Denmark, but it lost to Belgium in another match, which led Spain to win the silver medal.

In the 1930 debut FIFA World Cup, Spain did not participate due to an economic crisis. It qualified for the second World Cup and reached the tournament’s quarterfinals.

After that, Spain faced Civil War and World War II for almost 15 years which directly affected their football too. Then, Spain returned to World Cup football in 1950 and became a semifinalist.

1964 Euro Championship Trophy

Furthermore, it missed the first season of the Euro Championship (1960). And their major winning moment came in the second Euro Championship in 1964. Spain hosted the tournament and won the title of Euro Cup defeating former Champion Soviet Union. That time, Spain became the second nation to lift the tournament’s trophy so far.

Spain national at the 1964 Euro Championship
1964 Euro Champion team Spain. Source: Pinterest

However, after that, Spain’s games started falling, and they did not qualify for three Championships. The Spanish team reformed and returned to the tournament in 1980. But, showed average performance and were eliminated from the group stage.

In the 1984 French Euro, Spain was close to winning the tournament title for the second time, but, unfortunately, lost in the finals against the host. Then, it participated in the 1988 German Euro Cup and missed the 1992 Sweden edition. The same year, they became champions in the Olympic Games.

2008 and 2012 Euro Champions

Since 1996, it has been continuously qualifying in the tournament to date. Spain’s golden era started in the mid-2000s when many prominent footballers were on board the team. In the 2008 Euro Championship, Spain’s squad was filled with star players like Carles Puyol, Iker Casillas, Xavi, Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, and Fernando Torres.

Spain national team at the 2008 Euro Championship
2008 Euro Champion team Spain. Source: Planet Football

The team performed well and defeated Germany in the finals. In that tournament, Spanish forward David Villa became the highest scorer with four goals.

After two years, the team became the world champions in football, and then in 2012, they replicated the same result and bagged the European Championship trophy for the third time. Following that, Spain was out of the pre-quarterfinals in the 2016 Euro. Likewise, it finished third in the 2020 Euro Championship.

Other Competition

Spain also became the second runner-up in 2009 and the first runner-up in 2013 of the FIFA Confederation Cup.

Furthermore, Spain also participates in the UEFA Nations League. It did not make a selection in the first season in 2019, but it became a runner-up in the second season (2021). Spain also won the silver medal in the 2020 Olympic Games.

Spain’s FIFA World Cup History

Early Success

Spain’s national team’s early world cup graph was not satisfactory. It appeared in only two editions out of six until 1960. They made their second appearance in the 1950 World Cup after the 1934 one. But, they finished fourth after zero wins, one draw, and 2 losses. Then, Spain missed the next two World Cups (1954 and 1958).

The team returned to the 1962 World Cup but out of the group exit and replicated the same result in the 1966 World Cup. Then, it missed two seasons: 1970 and 1974.

From the Argentine World Cup, Spain has been regularly qualifying for the tournament. It finished in the group, quarter-finals, and pre-quarterfinals until 2006.

World Champions

Spain entered the 2010 FIFA World Cup with a 2008 Euro Champions team. In the opening match of the group stage, they lost against Switzerland, 0-1. But, they came back through their second game and defeated Honduras and Chile in the remaining matches.

In the knock-out stage, Spain defeated its rival Portugal, 1-0, reaching the quarter-finals. Then, they won against South American underdogs Paraguay likewise, Germany in the quarter and semifinals respectively.

2010 World Champion Spain national team
2010 World Champion Spain national team. Source: FIFA

It was the first time the team reached the tournament’s final. And in the final four minutes of extra time in the final match against the Netherlands. Spain made a victory when Andrés Iniesta scored a goal to the opponent’s goalpost.

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That was a historic moment for the Spanish national teams, Spanish citizens, and their fans. In the tournament, the Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas earned the tournament’s best goalkeeper award. Spain also earned the FIFA Fair Play Trophy.

End of Golden Generation

After the 2010 World Cup, Spain’s performances started declining, and it did not win in group matches of the 2014 Brazil World Cup. Likewise, in the Russia World Cup, Spain was eliminated from the knock-out stage.

Top Five Greatest Spanish Footballers of the 21st Century

Spain has provided many of the greatest football players in World football. There are more than a dozen greatest footballers who are popular not only in the national team but also in club matches.

Íker Casillas Fernández

Íker Casillas is a former Spanish footballer who played as a goalkeeper. He is one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time. His name is also on the list of a few players to make over 1000 appearances in their professional careers. He was one of the key members to win the 2008, 2012 Euro, and 2010 World Championships.

Iker Casillas goal keeper
Spain’s goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Source: Fan Pop

Casillas spent the majority of his career at the Spanish giant Real Madrid. He holds the record for keeping the cleanest sheets in the UEFA Champions League. He won 167 caps during his 16-year-long career journey. Casillas is the second-best goalkeeper of the twenty-first century behind Italian Gianluigi Buffoon.

David Villa Sánchez

David Villa is a retired Spanish striker considered one of the best forwards of the 21st Century. Villa currently serves as the Technical Advisor and Global Head of Football Operations of the Indian Super League (ISL) club Odisha FC. 

Villa holds the record of the highest scorer in Spain with 59 goals from his 98 caps. He spent in the field from 2005-2017 and won 2 Euro Cups and One World Cup during his tenure. Villa won UEFA Euro 2008 Golden Boot and the 2010 FIFA World Cup Silver Shoe and Bronze Ball.

Raúl González Blanco

Raúl is also one of the greatest Spanish footballers of the twenty-first century. He played as a forward for the national team and Real Madrid FC. He is the second-highest scorer of the Spanish team with 44 goals from 102 caps.

Raúl represented Spain from 1996-2006. He majorly helped to be a consecutive champion of the UEFA Champions League to Real Madrid from 1997-98 to 2001-02. He represented Spain in three World Cups and two Euro Cups. Raul is leading the Real Madrid Castilla team.

Xavi Hernández

Xavier Hernández Creus is also one of the greatest footballers ever born in Spain. He is often considered one of the greatest midfielders of all time. Hernandez is the current manager of the Spanish giant FC Barcelona.

He won 32 trophies in his national and club career. In 208, he won the UEFA European Championship Player of the Tournament when Spain became a Euro Champion. Xavi won 133 caps during his fourteen-year-long playing career.

Sergio Ramos García

Sergio Ramos is a Spanish Center back defender of the national team and French club PSG (Paris Saint- Germain). Ramos is famous for his aggressive play, prolific scoring abilities, and ball retrieval. He is one of the strongest defenders of all time.

He has won four UEFA Champions, two Euro Championship titles, and one FIFA World Cup title. Ramos is the highest caps player in Spain with 180 caps. He also led the under-19 team to win the UEFA European U19 Championship in 2004.

Qatar World Cup 2022 Spain Squad

In the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Spain earned 19 points and topped the chart of Group G from the European region. As a result, it automatically booked the seat for the Winter World Cup. During the World Cup draw, it placed in Group E alongside its rivals Germany, Japan, and Costa Rica.

The Spanish team will meet the North American nation, Costa Rica, in their first match on 23 November 2022 at Al Thumama Stadium, Doha. The twenty-second World Cup will begin on November 20, 2022, with a Qatar and Ecuador match.

In 2019, the Spanish team hired former player Luis Enrique as the manager of the team. He led team Spain in the 2020 Euro Championship and 2022 World Cup qualification. Enrique will take part in the Winter World Cup along with captain Sergio Ramos and other promising players.

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There is a strong possibility Enrique will give chance to the current youngest player Gavi in the winter World Cup. He holds the record of being the youngest player to score in an international match when he was 17 years 304 days from a senior team. Gavi is the forward of FC Barcelona.

Spain will play a few UEFA Nations League group matches and friendly matches before the Arab World Cup. In October 2022, Spain will announce their final playing squad.