If Spain's challenge to retain the World Cup trophy isn't enough motivation for Vicente Del Bosque's players, a huge payout might just catch the squad's interest.
The defending champions can expect a bonus totalling €720,000 each if they manage to triumph in Brazil, reported by AS.com and via ESPN FC:
It represents a 20 percent increase on the successful campaign in South Africa in 2010, when the players received 600,000 euros for lifting the trophy. In 2006, when Spain were eliminated by France at the last 16 stage, the incentive on offer had been 540,000 euros.
If Spain make it through the first knockout round this year, the players and staff will receive 72,000 euros, while for a semifinal appearance the bonus will be 180,000 euros and for reaching the final they would receive 360,000 euros each.
Should players receive financial bonuses for progressing through the World Cup?
Iker Casillas and Xavi Hernandez represented the players during a meeting with the Spanish Royal Football Federation in May, confirming the highest bonus pay of any squad at this summer's competition. In comparison, Brazil and Germany players are set to welcome €330,000 and €300,000 respectively if the ultimate goal is achieved, noted in ESPN FC's report.
Roy Hodgson's England squad would earn more than both if they pull off an unlikely triumph. Charles Sale of the Daily Mail details an agreement that would see each Three Lions representative pocket £350,000 with a final win, roughly €433,000. Sale notes how such fees are "relatively insignificant for a squad of millionaires," but praised the team for smooth negotiations, unlike other nations.
Nigeria's players and staff have struggled to agree on payment in recent times, with the Nigerian Football Federation halving performance money in 2013. A dispute over bonuses nearly led the players into boycotting the Confederations Cup, but an agreement was struck with sports minister Bolaji Abdullahi just before last year's tournament.
In October 2013, coach Stephen Keshi lambasted the NFF for not paying his wages in seven months, calling the situation the "lowest point" of his career. In a somewhat surprising turn of events, each Nigerian player will earn $100,000 if they win this year's World Cup, with a total of $2.6 million up for grabs across the entire squad if every match is successful, per The Score.
Cameroon's squad have struggled to agree to fees more recently. On May 27, newspaper Le Jour, reported by the Agence France-Presse and via Eurosport, detailed a huge difference in opinion between players and officials:
The Cameroon government last week offered 61,000 euros, which the players rejected, and then increased it to 68,000 euros, which was also turned down, Cameroon daily Le Jour reported.
Le Jour said the players were demanding more than 120 million CFA francs (182,000 euros) each. The daily blasted the demand as "indecent".
Popular freelance writer Jonathan Wilson indicated such a situation is the norm for Cameroon:
One of the great World Cup rituals: Cameroon's players and officials at loggerheads over bonuses. They've gone early this year.— Jonathan Wilson (@jonawils) May 27, 2014
Putting these numbers into perspective, USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is set to earn between $500,000-$10.5 million dollars in bonuses depending on his side's progress, reported by Steven Goff of the Washington Post. Unsurprisingly, this far exceeds the total offered by Nigeria and other squads in the tournament.
World Cup fever is certainly starting to set in now the opening match is one week away. Players will receive a great amount of exposure over the next month and will be afforded plenty of time to impress in front of a global audience.
While it is always favourable to be paid for exertion, it would be extremely disappointing to see a team fail to perform at the sport's biggest meet due to financial discrepancies.