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Paraguay vs. Spain World Cup 2010: Spain's Five Keys To Taking the Trophy Home

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 25: Iker Casillas captain of Spain leads his team out prior to the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa Group H match between Chile and Spain at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 25, 2010 in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa.  (Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images)
Martin Rose/Getty Images
Cristian SireraContributor IJuly 1, 2010

As Spain prepares for a seemingly easy game against Paraguay in the World Cup Quarterfinals, an entire country prays for La Roja not to fall one step short of the semifinals once again.

Spain has not gone past the quarterfinals in 60 years, and even if the rival at hand is a lot more beatable than Argentina, Germany, Brazil or the Netherlands, there is a shadow of ghosts of World Cups past hovering over the national team.

In order for Spain to even have a shot at this World Cup, several things need to happen.

We go over the five keys for Del Bosque's men to clinch the title for the first time in the history of the sport.

 

1. Get past the Round of Eight, and with a strong win

Spain will play against a highly motivated Paraguayan team that has a style of play similar to the Swiss or the Portuguese, but with even slightly more attacking power than the former, and even more accustomed to defending than the latter. 

Spain will have to make sure the two midfielders' tactic debate (Busqueta and Xabi Alonso) that has taken the country will not choke the team's creativity, and show the ability to score that was present all throughout the qualifying stages.

 

2. In the Semifinals, no fear

The team to beat on the last step before the final will be Germany or Argentina, two of the teams that have played the best soccer since the tournament started.

Spain will have to look at their rivals with respect, but with no worries if they play the way they know how to play.

The sooner the Spaniards get the ball rolling and a good 10 minutes of ball possession in that game, the better.

 

3. Torres has to wake up

Yes, David Villa is an amazing player who has developed the ability to score video game-like goals in this tournament, but Spain cannot depend on him game after game, all the way to the final.

The Liverpool man has shown signs of betterment in the last game against Portugal, but he is still slightly over 50 percent of what he can do.

Torres needs to score against Paraguay and regain his confidence back, and Spain will double its chances to win this tournament.

 

4. The defense needs to switch into high gear

The soccer world praised a line of four with two of the best central defenders in the world, Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué, who even play for the same team, with an experienced Joan Capdevila on the left and Sergio Ramos, sometimes shaky but powerful and skilled.

Behind them stood arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, Iker Casillas. However, Spain has shown a surprising tendency to make crucial mistakes during this tournament.

The goal against Switzerland, where the defense looked more like Real Madrid's than Barcelona's, and Casillas' amateur mistake on a seemingly harmless show from outside the box to almost give Portugal the lead would be deadly in a semifinal—let alone a final.

Casillas and the defense will have to kick it up a notch if they want to be up to the challenge of stopping either a perfectly assembled German team or the creativity of the Brazilian powerhouse.

 

5. The substitutes need to keep it up

As it happened with Cesc Fabregas against Chile, or more recently with striker Fernando Llorente in the game against Portugal, the Spaniards coming from the bench need to keep it coming.

A semifinal or final could last two hours, and a fresh and in-sync player coming from the bench could prove the difference between going home with nothing, or taking to the streets of Madrid to celebrate the first World Cup.

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