Predicting a Route to World Cup Glory for Spain

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJune 4, 2014

Predicting a Route to World Cup Glory for Spain

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    Spain are trying to make history.
    Spain are trying to make history.Miguel Angel Morenatti/Associated Press

    Spain enter the 2014 World Cup in Brazil trying to defend their crown.

    Having won the competition in 2010, along with the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, La Roja are the team to beat.

    Their path to potential glory won't be easy, and here Bleacher Report shows how they may end up making history.

Group-Stage Difficulty

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    Spain beat the Netherlands in the 2010 final.
    Spain beat the Netherlands in the 2010 final.Michael Steele/Getty Images

    Spain have not been given an easy group. The Netherlands, their 2010 World Cup final opponents, are the main threat, but Chile and Australia are also dangerous.

    The Netherlands will be out for revenge after losing to Spain in South Africa, and Jonathan de Guzman has already spoken about it.

    "We have a little bit of revenge to take care of. Winning that first game would send a big message," De Guzman said to the Sunday Mirror, per the Daily Mail. "It would be big not just for the team or squad, but for the whole World Cup."

    The Netherlands should prove a tough opening fixture for Spain, and don't be surprised if it ends in a stalemate.

    However, Vicente del Bosque's side should have enough to beat both Chile and Australia.

    With Holland looking a little weak in midfield and defence, Spain have a good chance of finishing top of the group.

    Predictions:

    Spain 1-1 Holland
    Spain 2-1 Chile
    Spain 2-0 Australia

Clash with the Croats in the Last 16

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    Ivan Rakitic may be in Spain's path.
    Ivan Rakitic may be in Spain's path.Marc Eich/Getty Images

    If Spain finish at the top in the group stage, they shall then face the runner-up from Group A.

    This is likely to be either Croatia, Cameroon or Mexico, with Brazil firm favourites to top their group on home soil.

    Croatia are the strongest of those other sides, powered by the combination of Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic in the midfield.

    But as good as Modric and Rakitic are, and despite the threat of Mario Mandzukic up front, Spain should have enough to go through.

    Prediction:

    Spain 3-1 Croatia

Quarter-Final Against Italy

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    Spain should have enough to beat Italy again.
    Spain should have enough to beat Italy again.Jasper Juinen/Getty Images

    Lying in wait for Spain in the quarter-final will be the team that tops Group D, which is likely to be either Italy, England or Uruguay.

    The teams from Group D will play Group C's top two in the last 16 but should both get through given the relative weakness of Colombia, Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan in C.

    Spain thrashed Italy 4-0 in the final of Euro 2012, and even though La Roja aren't quite as strong as they were back then, they are still better than the Azzurri.

    Prediction:

    Spain 1-0 Italy

Argentina Semi-Final Shakedown

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    Lionel Messi may face his Barca colleagues.
    Lionel Messi may face his Barca colleagues.Alex Livesey/Getty Images

    Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero and Co. could be lying in wait in the semi-final.

    Portugal are an option as well, but Argentina are the most likely opponents.

    This is a mouthwatering prospective clash and would be a difficult game to call.

    We could easily see extra time and even the lottery of penalties. Either way, it should be an excellent match. 

    Prediction:

    Spain 1-1 Argentina

Final: Samba Stars on Their Home Turf

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    Brazil beat Spain in the Confederations Cup.
    Brazil beat Spain in the Confederations Cup.Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    If Spain reach the final, they are most likely to face either Brazil or Germany.

    We'll give Luiz Felipe Scolari's team the benefit of the doubt. They are the hosts and favourites to win the tournament. 

    A Spain vs. Brazil World Cup final is probably the "people's choice" and would be a veritable feast of football.

    Brazil beat Spain 3-0 in the Confederations Cup final last year, but La Roja will be better prepared this time around. 

    When you compare the two sides head-to-head, it's too close to call.

    But Spain have been dominant for the past few years, and it's easy to imagine them continuing their hot streak.

    Prediction: Brazil 0-1 Spain