The entirety of the footballing world quickly started scrambling for the Brazil bandwagon and running as far away from any Spanish ties as they could after the end of the Confederations Cup Final. A 3-0 victory that could have easily been 5 or 6 had everyone quickly proclaiming Brazil as the easy favorites for the 2014 World Cup. A missed penalty, a red card, and the type of play that seemed unlike the Spain we have seen develop over the past few tournaments have also made many doubt the current World and Euro Cup holders.
However, everyone running to trade in their Iniesta jersey for a Neymar kit, slow down. Realize that the current situation is almost identical to where we found La Furia Roja running up to the last world cup. They had just lost a 2-0 upset to the USA, and Brazil had just won the Confederations Cup. Sergio Ramos may have missed a penalty this time around, but last time he gave away one of the cheapest goals of the tournament. Spain then went on to lose their first game in their World Cup group…but, the rest is history as they marched on to their nation’s first World Cup title.
The only issue that Spain really has right now is the fact that they are now a member of the current roller-coaster known as Fernando Torres. Although he walked away with the golden boot for the tournament, most of his goals came against Tahiti and he only scored one other outside of that game. If Spain is going to run multiple strikers on the pitch, Torres has to earn his keep. That means that he has to become a major threat instead of just scoring against the minnows of world football. Considering how prone Spain were to field a full 11 without a striker in the last World Cup, Torres will need a huge year for Chelsea and he will need to start showing up for his nation to justify the selection.
Spain will also look much better in the World Cup. During the Confed Cup the off the ball movement that their style of play needs typically was not present. To match their smooth passing, all of the other players have to constantly be moving into space. If the midfielders find themselves trapped without an open pass, then they will definitely not reach the heights of the last Cup. However, their manager and the older players on the squad will make sure that their outings in the summer of 2014 will be at the height of their powers.
Make sure that you are not a member of the group that will be burying Spain before we even get to the World Cup. This team has already written themselves into football legend with their current run. Add in that players like Xavi and a few others will be heading to their last World Cup ride and you have a mix that is made for Spain to try and battle through. Plus, Spain would love to enter into a tournament as an underdog. With the result of the Confed, they may actually have put all the pressure on Brazil and taken all of the pressure off of themselves. Underestimate Spain at your own peril…