2010 FIFA World Cup: 10 Things To Know About Spain
Spain is set to face Paraguay in the quarterfinals of the World Cup on Saturday, July 3rd.
It’s the first time Paraguay has ever made it this far in the World Cup.
Spain has been here four times, but has yet to win a match.
Here are 10 things to know about Spain ahead of their clash with Paraguay.
Spain Has Never Won the World Cup
Their best finish was fourth place in 1950.
This is La Furia Roja’s 13th World Cup.
Spain has qualified for every tournament since 1978.
They lost to France 3-1 in the round of 16 at the 2006 World Cup.
2010 World Cup Qualifying
Spain had a perfect ten wins in ten matches during qualifying rounds, where they outscored their opponents 28-5.
Performance in South Africa
La Furia Roja lost their first match to Switzerland 1-0, but they bounced back to win the group by beating Honduras and Chile.
The managed a 1-0 victory over Portugal in the Round of 16, thanks to a David Villa goal in the 63rd minute.
World Cup Quarterfinals History
Spain has never won a match in the World Cup quarterfinals, despite making it there four times: 1934, 1986, 1994, and 2002.
And all but one of them (a 2-1 loss to Italy in 1994) came down to a penalty shootout.
Spain has never won a penalty shootout in the World Cup.
The 1950 tournament, in which they finished fourth, didn’t even have a quarterfinal.
FIFA split the 16 teams into four groups of four and placed the four winners into one final group, and Spain failed to win a single match.
Anyone wearing a Spain jersey.
The starting 11 reads like an All-Star list.
David Villa is certainly one of them.
He’s currently tied in the race for the Golden Boot with four goals in three consecutive World Cup matches, tying a Spanish record first set by Zarra in 1950.
His partner up top, Fernando Torres, is also world-class.
Together they form one of the most lethal striking partnerships in international football.
Their defense is every bit as solid, with captain Iker Casillas easily one of the top five keepers in the world.
His back line includes star defenders Carles Puyol, Joan Capdevila, and Real Madrid teammate Sergio Ramos, who is an offensive threat in his own right.
Their midfield features the likes of Andrés Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, and Xabi Alonso.
You know your midfield is stacked when Arsenal captain Cesc Fàbregas is a substitute who sat out all but 24 minutes of the 2010 World Cup.
They Are the Reigning Kings of Europe
Two years after exiting the last World Cup in the round of 16, Spain took home top honors at Euro 2008.
Their performance in that tournament was part of a 35-game unbeaten streak that tied Brazil for the record.
But USA broke this streak at the 2009 Confederations Cup before Spain had a chance to claim that record solely for themselves.
The Spaniards put "the beautiful" in "the beautiful game", with a complete mastery of the sport.
Only on rare occasions do passes fail to miss the mark, not to mention the team's unrivaled first touches.
This makes it very hard to get the ball off them, and the other team can’t score without the ball.
Not many, and they’re well-hidden on top of it.
A team’s best bet of beating Spain is to put a lot of men behind the ball and hit them on the counter-attack.
Fullbacks Capdevila and Ramos often push forward, so this is the best opportunity to catch them out of position.
“Well, I’ve Never Been to Spain…
"Well, I’ve never been to Spain
But I kinda like the music
Say the ladies are insane there
And they sure know how to use it…"
I couldn’t resist a reference to one of my favorite songs.
Hoyt Wayne Axton was the songwriter.
Next Match: Paraguay
Spain’s quarterfinal match with Paraguay kicks off on Saturday, July 3rd at 2:30 P.M. EST at Ellis Park Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa.
American viewers can catch the English language telecast on ESPN, ESPN 3D, and ESPN Mobile TV; or a Spanish one on ESPN Deportes and Univision.
You can also tune in online at ESPN3.com and Univision.com.