5 Biggest Reasons Spain Remain Favorites at Brazil 2014
As we edge closer to World Cup 2014, many nations will be looking to take the crown from reigning champions Spain.
But though there may be several very strong countries, La Roja remain the favorites.
Be it the overall strength of Spain or their vast experience, this team is ready for a repeat.
But what is it that sets Spain apart from the other extremely talented countries? In the world of football things are constantly changing, yet Spain has remained very consistent.
In this article we will take a look at the five reasons why Spain remain the favorite national team to win the World Cup at Brazil 2014.
The Pairing of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos
Though the Spanish defense of 2010 looks to be a thing of the past, it appears as though the new pairing of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos will anchor the back line very well.
The club rivals now form what is arguably the strongest center-back duo in the world. Pique and Ramos complement each other very well and give La Roja leadership behind the midfield.
Gerard Pique is tall and strong. His ability to play in the air is very solid, and he is one of the best passing defenders in the world.
Sergio Ramos is a very tough defender who does not give up on a play. The Spaniard has great speed at the back and is also great at getting forward.
This tremendous pairing will solidify Spain's defense and give them a defense edge on almost any team they will face.
Biggest Stars Are Still Producing Despite Age
Spain has been a team of longevity. After winning three consecutive championships on the international stage, most would expect the squad to need many new players to challenge for a fourth.
Luckily for Spain, the older stars are still producing on a world-class level.
Captain Iker Casillas, though recently injured, is still arguably the greatest keeper in the world. His presence at the World Cup will be an instant advantage on any team Spain faces.
But the likes of Xavi, Carles Puyol and Xabi Alsono are also likely to play major roles in Brazil.
Though these players are already legends in Spain, they still have much to offer, and it is to be expected that they will still be at their current level when the World Cup rolls around.
If Spain is able to field a lineup of such experience and quality, they will have a guaranteed edge on any opponent.
Spain's Extreme Depth
Every nation has countless players to choose from for their squads. But no nation seems to be as deep as that of Spain.
The starting lineup for La Roja is easily better than any opponent they could face, but their bench would also start for most of the nations around the world.
Players such as Santi Cazorla and Pedro are stars in the beautiful game, yet neither is a starter for La Roja. Being able to call on youth and an impressive bench will give Spain many different options and the ability to rest players.
Also, with injuries a real possibility for any team, Spain can almost replace any player who could face time on the sideline.
Spain’s depth is almost unfair for opponents. But for Spain, it is yet another reason to expect La Roja to repeat in Brazil.
Different Attacking Options Up Front
Spain is known for playing the Barcelona’s style of "tiki-taka" offense. Though this will be expected by opponents, the variations of the tactic will prove that Spain remain favorites.
Lately, Spain manager Vicente Del Bosque has opted to use a “false nine,” with Cesc Fábregas in the striker position. This has worked for creating chances all around and may be the preferred option.
But La Roja have many different attacking styles that can be used in their tiki-taka plans.
David Villa could possibly be used as a traditional striker, which will cause opponents to play a more normal defense. But Villa and Fábregas are capable of changing positions, too, meaning defenders will have to stay sharp throughout entire games.
Spain also has various options on the wings for attacking, as well.
While David Villa could be used at the left wing, Andres Iniesta has proven that he is more than capable of manning the left flank. Iniesta creates more chances and gives defenders headaches.
On the right wing, David Silva is normally preferred. But with the good form of Pedro, either could be selected to operate on the right.
With so many options, Spain can come at opponents in different ways. Defenses will have to constantly adjust to what La Roja do, which will most likely mean great chances for Spain.
Spain Still Boasts the Strongest Lineup in the World
At the end of the day, the simple fact is Spain is still the strongest team in the world. Despite any new concepts or what may happen, they sit far above other teams.
The style of play by Spain, coupled with the world-class stars, just makes La Roja nearly impossible for anyone to beat. It must not be forgotten that the team that will compete in Brazil will be nearly identical to that of the World Cup in 2010.
La Roja has experience, strength and familiarity that give them the upper hand on most teams.
This was recently seen in Euro 2012 when Spain flexed their muscles to tear apart a very strong Italy side. It is apparent then that Spain is going nowhere soon, so they must remain the favorites to lift the trophy in Brazil.
After being named the best national team in the world for five consecutive years, it is almost unwise to bet against La Roja.
Is Spain still the favorite to win World Cup 2014? What sets Spain apart from other nations? Don't forget to leave your thoughts and comments below.