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Spain World Cup Draw 2014: Group, Fixtures and Roster Predictions

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 11: (Back row L-R) Michu, Sergio Ramos, Alvaro Arbeloa, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Pique, Victor Valdes (Front row L-R) Pedro Rodriguez, David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Xavi Hernandez, Nacho Monreal of Spain pose for a team picture during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Belarus at Iberostars Stadium on October 11, 2013 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistDecember 6, 2013

On the shortlist of teams capable of winning this year's World Cup, Spain stands tall atop all other contenders.

The two-time defending European champions and defending World Cup champs are deep, talented and employ a tiki-taka system that has guided them to success in the past. They'll leave players off the final roster that would start for more than a few countries.      

Still, there are chinks in the armor. The core is aging, the team was physically manhandled by Brazil in the Confederations Cup final, losing 3-0, and there are just enough questions at several positions to make Spain appear more vulnerable than they've been in recent years.

Below, we'll review the team's group, fixtures and roster now that the World Cup draw is complete as they attempt to defend their title.

 

Group

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report
Group B
TeamFIFA Ranking
Spain1
Netherlands9
Chile15
Australia59
http://www.fifa.com/worldranking/

 

Schedule

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report
Spain Group Fixtures
DateTimeOpponent
June 133 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. BSTNetherlands
June 186 p.m. ET, 11 p.m. BSTChile
June 23Noon ET, 5 p.m. BSTAustralia

 

Roster Predictions

ALBACETE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 15:  Francisco Alarcon alias Isco (L) closes his eyes as he celebrates with his teammate Andres Iniesta (R) during the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Georgia at Carlos Belmonte stadium on October 15, 2013 i
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Formation: 4-5-1

 

Starting 11

GK: Victor Valdes 

RB: Daniel Carvajal 

CB: Sergio Ramos

CB: Gerard Pique

LB: Jordi Alba

DM: Sergio Busquets

CM: Andres Iniesta

CM: Xavi

RM: Cesc Fabregas

LM: Pedro

F: Alvaro Negredo 

 

Projected Reserves

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 11:  Juan Mata of Spain looks on during the warm up prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Belarus at Iberostars Stadium on October 11, 2013 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos
David Ramos/Getty Images

GK: Iker Casillas, Pepe Reina

DF: Nacho Monreal, Raul Albiol, Alvaro Arbeloa

MF: Jesus Navas, David Silva, Juan Mata, Isco, Xabi Alonso

F: Diego Costa, David Villa

 

Other Possibilities

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 29:  Fernando Torres of Spain looks thoughtful during a training session, ahead of their FIFA Confederations Cup Brazil 2013 Final match against Brazil, at the Maracana Stadium on June 29, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Ph
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

GK: David de Gea

DF: Carles Puyol, Juanfran, Marc Bartra, Cesar Azpilicueta

MF: Thiago Alcantara, Koke, Mario Suarez, Javi Martinez, Javi Garcia, Santi Cazorla, Asier Illarramendi

F: Roberto SoldadoMichuFernando Torres

 

Roster Notes

PALMA DE MALLORCA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 11:  Cesc Fabregas of Spain looks on prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Spain and Belarus at Iberostars Stadium on October 11, 2013 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Here's what we know: Players like Iniesta, Fabregas, Xavi, Busquets, Alonso, Pedro, Ramos, Pique and Alba will be on this team, no questions asked, and will all likely start.

After that, however, it gets trickier.

Will it be Valdes or Casillas in goal? With several promising but few must-start options at forward, which man will Spain employ to lead the line? Will new addition Costa, who has been on fire for Atletico Madrid, continue his torrid scoring pace for the Spaniards?

And with a glut of promising midfield options, will players like Navas, Silva, Mata or Isco—all of whom would start for most countries—see much action?

Most of Spain's questions are the envy of the rest of the world, of course. Spain's midfield alone is worth drooling over, and if none of the forwards pan out, the team is talented enough to play Fabregas as a false nine.

These are cosmetic issues, not functional ones.

 

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