Our prediction for this World Cup 2018 match:
Their friendly match against Belgum aside, Spanish national team has suffered back-to-back competitive defeats to Croatia and Italy respectively and are now faced with a lot of pressure to make amends in front of home supporters and begin the new chapter on a high. Julen Lopetegui was appointed new Spain manager succeeding Vicente del Bosque at the helm. Lopetegui’s decision to leave Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas out of the squad has been met with split reception as Lopetegui decided to start fresh. Spanish head coach also left out Cesc Fabregas and his squad decisions are now regarded as a clear statement that no past merits will be valued for selection. Spain boasts plenty of individual talent even without the two long-serving members of the national team and our prediction is that La Roja will have no problems dispatching the lowly Liechtenstein. Rene Pauritsch’s men often serve as a punching bag for big teams and 25 conceded goals in last nine matches confirm the claim.
Highlighted Player (Koke):
Jorge Resurreccion Merodio “Koke” has enjoyed a meteoric rise after coming through the youth ranks at Atletico Madrid, quickly becoming an important player for both club and country. Possessing impressive technical skills and very mature for his age, the highly rated midfielder is capable of covering just about any position in the middle of the park and he has been used as a central midfielder, left winger and right winger by both Diego Simeone and Vicente Del Bosque.
Koke has been a key member of one of the best generations in the history of Atletico Madrid, winning the 2013/2014 La Liga trophy and reaching the Champions League final the same year. Widely regarded as one of Europe’s best midfielders, it is only a matter of time before Koke will join an absolute top club and he is believed to be a primary target for La Liga rivals Barcelona.
While playing alongside Xavi Hernandez at the 2014 World Cup, Koke is believed to be a worthy successor of the former Catalans star in the national team now that he has retired, and with 20 Spain caps to his name, his international career is just starting.
Highlighted Team (Spain):
Historically, Spain have been regarded as one of top sides on international stage, but they often struggled to live up to the billing. After reaching the semi-finals at the 1950 World Cup, La Furia Roja won the European Championship trophy on home soil in 1964, but little did they know that it would remain their only trophy for another 44 years.
Following some disappointing showings, Spain finally returned to the biggest stage under Vicente Del Bosque, winning three straight trophies between 2008 and 2012, before crashing out in the group stage at the 2014 World Cup. La Furia Roja enjoyed plenty of success with their tiki-taka style of play, originally designed by Barcelona, with Vicente Del Bosque’s side packed with technically skilled players such as Xavi Hernandez, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and David Silva.
Strikers Fernando Torres and David Villa also had a major role to play in those successes, but when it comes to their famous predecessors, the likes of Alfredo Di Stefano, Michel, Emilio Butrageno, Raul Gonzalez, Fernando Morientes and Fernando Hierro should not be forgotten.