Spain will begin its quest to become the third nation to repeat as World Cup champions when it begins its qualification for the 2014 tournament against Georgia on Tuesday.
One positive for Spain is that most of the players who will take part in these qualifying matches will likely be included in the squad that is selected for the 2014 World Cup. This isn't an old Spanish squad, and they continue to prove that they are hungry for more trophies.
This will be a tough match for Georgia, a nation that has never participated in a World Cup tournament. If it were to earn just a draw, it would be one of the most shocking results in years.
Let's look at all you need to know about this exciting World Cup qualifying match featuring the defending World Cup champions.
When: Tuesday, September 11 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: ESPN3.com
Where: Boris Paichadze Stadium, Georgia
Most Important Player to Watch: Gerard Pique
Gerard Pique is a great defender, but he has been inconsistent for Barcelona over the last year.
Pique's defensive awareness is quite impressive, and rarely is he caught out of position. His chemistry with centre-back partner Sergio Ramos continues to improve, and they will likely start the match against Georgia together.
For Spain to defend well throughout the qualifying process, the 25-year-old needs to play at a high level in the center of the defense.
He will be one player looking to redeem himself on the international stage, and gain some confidence that he take can take with him to Barcelona.
Key Matchup: Battle for Possession
Spain is certainly going to control the ball for most of this match, and for Georgia to have any chance of finding the back of the net, it needs to work harder without the ball than when it has it.
Spain makes having 70 percent possession look easy against strong sides, so Georgia will be in a really difficult fight to have the ball for even 20 percent of the match.
Since Georgia will not be able to control the ball very much in the attacking third, taking advantage of opportunities on the counter attack will be quite important.
What They're Saying
Spanish striker Fernando Torres is expected to reach another milestone in his phenomenal international career this week.
His manager recently spoke about the accomplishment, telling the Associated Press (via Fox Sports)
''For Torres, it's a proud moment to reach 100. Many players from this generation could reach the number,'' said coach Vicente del Bosque, who said of Villa and the possibility of giving him his first international playing time since November: ''Calling him in to the squad is a reflection of the confidence we have in him.''
Expect Spain to use a number of its bench players who rarely see the pitch because del Bosque will not want to tire his veterans against an inferior side such as Georgia. Players such as Torres will also be determined to play well, and prove they deserve a prominent role in the squad.
Spain will win this match with ease, and take another step toward qualifying for the next World Cup.
Spain wins 5-0
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