History – As the reigning World and European champions, Spain has to be regarded as one of the favourites in Brazil, something we will also see on the World Cup betting odds. With victories in Euro 2008, The 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, they became the first National side to win three consecutive titles at the highest level. Spain also holds the record for the longest unbeaten run in competitive matches with 29.
Spain claimed its first major international trophy when hosting the 1964 European Championship. The defeated the much-vaunted Hungarian side 2-1 in the semi-final before beating the Soviet Union by the same score in the final.
In Euro 84, Spain topped Group 7 by beating Malta 12-1 in their final match to move about the Netherlands. A 1-0 win over West Germany put them through to the semi-finals where they won a penalty shoot-out against Denmark. Their long wait for a second major title was extended when they lost 2-0 to France in the final.
Further disappointment followed when they were beaten on penalties by Belgium in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. They reached the same stage eight years later but this time lost 2-1 to Italy.
In Euro 96 it was England who eliminated Spain by virtue of a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-finals. They reached the last eight yet again in 2000 and were beaten 2-1 by 1998 World champions France.
Remarkably, the quarter-finals would again be as far as they could go in the 2002 World Cup. After having two goals sensationally ruled out, they fell to the co-hosts Korea Republic on penalties.
The finally broke through to the final at the 2008 European championships. A penalty shoot-out at last went in their favour as they beat Italy in the quarter-finals before comfortably defeating Russia 3-0 in the semis. A goal from Fernando Torres was enough to beat Germany in the final and provide Spain with their first major title for 44 years.
They then went on to confirm their status as the best team in world football at the 2010 World Cup. They beat Paraguay 1–0 in the quarter-finals to reach the last four in the competition for the first time since 1950. A 1-0 win over Germany secured their place in the final and a goal from Andrés Iniesta gave them victory over the Netherlands in the final.
In 2012 Spain became the first team to retain the European championship. They beat France in the quarter-finals and needed a penalty shoot-out to beat Portugal in the semi-finals. They then produced a stunning display of attacking football to beat Italy 4-0 in the final with goals from David Silva, Jordi Alba, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.
Spain’s great run of success has led to their side being dubbed “The golden generation” but there are suggestions that their domination is coming to an end. The once-feared attacking duo of Torres and Villa has gone into gradual decline but their style of football has not changed.
Their slick passing game continues to mesmerise opponents with the likes of David Silva, Jesus Navas and Xavi all capable of producing some fantastic football. Attacking options are also increasing with the emergence of Roberto Soldado, Alvaro Negredo and Michu while the transfer of Mata to Manchester United could give him the opportunity to reach his full potential on the international stage. However, a crushing 3-0 defeat to Brazil in the Confederations Cup ended their 29-match unbeaten run and their air of invincibility.
Alvaro Negredo has been a revelation since joining Premiership side Manchester City in the summer. He joined City from Sevilla having also played for Real Madrid, scoring over 100 goals in La Liga over a six-year period.
Negredo is rapidly emerging as one of the most deadly strikers in world football. He played under City boss Manuel Pellegrini at his second stint at Real but struggled to get regular football with the likes of Ronaldo, Benzema, van Nistelrooy and Huguain in the squad. He moved to Sevilla and was an undisputed first-team choice in 2010-11.
Last summer, Negredo signed a four-year deal to join his old boss at Manchester City for a fee of around £16 million. He scored on only his second start for the club at Cardiff City and again against Hull in the following match. In November he struck a hat-trick in the Champions League against CSKA Moscow to help City to reach the last 16 of the competition for the first time in their history.
Negredo scored his second hat-trick of the season in a 6–0 home win over West Ham United in the Capital One Cup semi-finals. He has scored ten goals in 21 appearances for his country but he looks set to become a more regular member of the team if his current rich vein of form continues.
Betting Odds on Spain in World Cup
As always, Spain will be a hot favourite for the World Cup title again and we will see many bets on that to happen. As for the moment though, they are only fourth favourite and pays around 8 times the money for a tournament win. Teams ahead of them are Germany, Argentina and hosts Brazil.