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First-place votes: 6
Spain won Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010, but not all of our panelists think a third straight major title is in the cards.
The midfield, led by Xavi (pictured) and Andres Iniesta, will be strong again. But key players like defender Carles Puyol and forward David Villa are injured.
Regardless, world-class talent oozes from this squad, starting with keeper Iker Casillas, and Spain's renowned possession game is second to none.
But will that prove decisive again this summer?
Like Germany, Spain received six first-place votes. No panelist ranked Spain lower than third.
Xoel: Ball possession is key to victory, and no other national team is better than Spain. Germany may have the better forwards, and perhaps defense, but Spain has the better midfield and the best keeper. I’ll take Spain’s midfield, ball possession and Casillas to frustrate all opponents.
Karla: Puyol and Villa’s injuries may be tough but not determinant, since Vicente del Bosque has a star-studded squad. Spain’s harmony and joyful style of game put them as favorites.
Tony: Defending champions. Reigning world champions. The most realistic prospect of becoming the first nation ever to retain the European crown. Missing Carles Puyol and David Villa will be blows, but they have enough talent to largely compensate.
Karl: The reigning European and world champions have a squad which is almost beyond belief. Consider: Pepe Reina, Raul Albiol, Javi Martinez, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, Pedro and Fernando Torres—none of those hugely talented players might get a start for Spain in the group stages. Their 23-man squad is THAT good.
Adam: They're the reigning European champions and the reigning World Cup champions—and their side is made up, almost exclusively, of players from probably the two best club sides in the world. That equals "FAVORITE" heading into any tournament.
Will: Will the absence of David Villa and Carles Puyol really be enough to derail Spain and deny them a third successive major title?
Dan: I'm not trying to be a contrarian, but I do not know if Spain has the offensive firepower needed in the later rounds. Having said that, playing possession football and controlling the clock can get Spain very far, but it just feels like the scoring threats for Netherlands and Germany are better, especially without a healthy David Villa. There is no better midfield in the world than Spain. Will that be enough?
Jack: No matter how much talent Germany possess, they must prove it. Spain possess many champions and will clearly be the team to beat.
Mohamed: Not having David Villa will seriously hurt Spain at the Euros, even if there are a number of capable replacements. Puyol's absence will also hurt a lot. Still, the team is loaded with quality, and it would not be a big surprise to see them make history as champions.
Sam: Without David Villa, they are not nailed on to win it, but still represent a near-impossible hurdle.
Neri: Reigning world and European champs, they have more talent on their bench than most other starting XIs, but David Villa and Carles Puyol are too tough to replace.