Group B: Spain World Cup Betting Odds & Tips
Spain, world champions eight years ago in South Africa, are now attempting to follow up their ‘golden generation’.
That 2010 win, their maiden World Cup success having previously been labelled as underachievers on this grand stage, was bookended by European Championship glory in 2008 and 2012 during a spell where the Spanish national team was almost untouchable with their outstanding brand of possession-based football.
Now, with the game having moved on somewhat, they must come again with a new playbook in their bid for more tournament success.
Their current boss is Julien Lopetegui, who led Spain to European success at U-19 and U-21 level before a spell managing Porto. He succeeded all-conquering Vicente del Bosque following the Euro 2016 tournament in France.
In qualifying Spain were pitched into a group with Italy, forcing two of European football’s aristocrat nations to essentially duel for a place in Russia.
An early draw in Turin gave Spain an upper hand and they qualified with nine wins from ten games, defeating the Azzurri 3-0 in Madrid’s Bernabeu in the decisive match last September.
The draw certainly could have been kinder to Spain, who will open their Group B campaign on June 15 in Sochi with a blockbuster clash against neighbours and current European champions Portugal. That game will have a massive impact on the group, with either of the Iberian giants coming under enormous early pressure should they lose out.
Iran are second up in Kazan for Spain, before a dust down with Morocco in Kaliningrad on June 25. Experienced performers like Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, David Silva and Andres Iniesta will form the core for Spain in front of perhaps the world’s best goalkeeper in David de Gea.
They also have an exciting new generation coming up, buoyed by the exploits they have watched the national team go through in recent years. Real Madrid’s Isco fired a stunning brace in the 3-0 win over Italy last autumn and joins Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata in hoping to have a big role in their forward line in Russia.
Spain are 1.53 favourites to win Group B and 8.50 to be crowned world champions for a second time in eight years.