© Getty Images
Spain will aim for a fourth Euro Cup crown © Getty Images

Spain has been a part of international football from 1904, with their national team debuting in 1920. Also known by its fan as La Furia Roja the Spanish national team has been part of 9 of the 14 European Championships held from the inaugural edition in 1960. Spain withdrew from the 1960 European Nations’ Cup (EURO now) as they rejected to travel to USSR. Spain came back with a vengeance in 1964 edition where they were the host nation as well. In front of a packed Bernabeu Stadium in Madrid, Spain defeated defending champion USSR 2-1 to lift their 1st ever title. Spain since then never played in the EURO’s till 1980 edition coming 7th in competition.  The 1984 edition in France was a comeback of sorts for Spain as they topped their Group to finally coming second in the tournament losing out to Champions France guided up the exuberant Micheal Platini.

It was not until the mid 1990’s and early 2000’s that saw Spain rise from the ashes after having a no show in 1992 edition. 1996 edition will be remembered for one get most thrilling penalty shoot-out in the history of Euro’s. Spain lost to England in the quarterfinals 2-4 on penalties. 1996 squad consisted of Fernando Hierro, Luis Enrique, Adoni Zubizarreta and Gulliermo Amor to name a few stars. In 2000, Spain were favorites with the likes of Hierro, Helguera, Raúl, Iker Casillas and Juan Carlos Valeron in their playing XI were lost out to eventual champions France, who were also World Champions winning 1998 FIFA World Cup.

The era of La Furia Roja was upon us as Spain has the 2008 and 2012 Euro’s in style. 2004 saw Spain win their second Euro title skipped by Casillas, with Carlos Puyol, Andres Iniesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Fernando Torres, Sergio Ramos and David Villa. These players were the a-el-cream of Spanish football that had been aggressive and forthcoming in their approach. Spain defeated Germany in the final thanks to a 33rd minute goal by Torres. David Villa won the Golden Boot award with 4 goals to his name (this was his last international tournament), while Xavi was the player of tournament. Spain became the first nation to win successive European Champion to continue their age of domination. Spain decimated Italy in the final, winning the match by a margin of 4-0. This team had younger legs with Gerard Pique, Pedro, Juan Mata, Busquets added into the squad.

Coming into the 2016 tournament Spain will aim to make a treble of wins in the able guidance of Vincent del Bosque, who will aim to win his second Euro medal and his third championship medal for Spain after 2010 FIFA World Cup and 2012 Euro Championship. Spain are place in Group D along side Czech Republic, Turkey and Croatia.

Spain topped their qualifying Group C, with 9 wins from 10 games to make it to the championship. Spain’s tally of points were only bettered by England and Austria in the qualifying round with 30 and 28 points to Spain’s 27 points. Coming into the Euro’s Spain have had a fairly good record with 3 wins from 5 games with 1 game being called due to bomb scare. Spain is to Georgia on June 7 as their last practice before Euro’s.

Spain plays their first match on June 13 against Czech Republic at Stadium Municipal, Toulouse. Their second match will see them clash against Turkey on June 17 at Allianz Riviera, Nice. Spain takes on Croatia in their last group stage match at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux.

Final 23-member Squad for Spain:

Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas, David de Gea, Sergio Rico.

Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Marc Bartra, Cesar Azpilicueta ,Mikel San José, Juanfran , Héctor Bellerín .

Midfielders: Bruno Soriano, Sergio Busquets, Koke, Thiago Alcântara, Andrés Iniesta, David Silva, Cesc Fábregas .

Forwards: Aritz Aduriz, Nolito, Álvaro Morata, Pedro Rodríguez, Lucas Vázquez .

Team analysis:

With as many as 9 players who have won domestic titles in 2015-16 football season (La-Liga, FA Cup, Bundesliga, Champions League), it makes for a red-hot Spanish side. Sergio Ramos and Iker Casillas will aim for their third championship medal in a row, while the likes of De Gea, Juanfran, Alcantara, Nolito will try to win it for the first time. Spain’s midfield looks settled with the likes of Busquets, Koke, Iniesta, Silva and Fabregas controlling the pace of the game. Del Bosque has been criticized for missing out on Mata, Torres, Diago Costa, Isco and Santi Cazorla in the final squad, as their experience could have been crucial in crunch situations. Spain’s striking ability looks weak with no big name in the forward position.