Can Spain be beat?

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Odds makers have made the Spanish National Team, La Roja, the favorite to win the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. With odds currently at 5:1, it would seem as if there must be something which other teams can exploit in order to topple the best soccer team in the world (according to FIFA rankings as of March 31, 2010); or is there?
La Roja barely seemed to be challenged in the qualifying round, easily coming out on top of each of their ten matches. Their offensive output of 28 goals over the qualifying round was second in the European zone to the 34 which England produced. The miniscule five goals which they allowed was the best defensive effort in their region.
When it comes to play, there is not any one person that stands out as the absolutely star of the team. Instead, La Roja has a rare collection of talented players across the board.
Iker Casillas, the captain, is one of the best goalkeepers in soccer. In 2009 he was rates as the best in Europe and even finished fourth for the European Footballer of the Year in 2008. For three years running he has been named to the UEFA Team of the Year as well. With Casillas protecting the goal fans can rest assured it will take one tremendous play to sneak a ball past him.
Midfielder Xavi Hernandez is widely considered to be among the best in the world at his position if not the best. While playing with his club side, La Liga club Barcelona, he was named the man of the match for the 2009 Champions League Final against Manchester United. A fixture on the national senior side, Xavi has been to the Olympics (2000) and will be looking to play in his third world cup in South Africa (2002, 2006 and now 2010).
When people come up with numerous nicknames for you, you know you are doing something right. Striker David Villa has been called ‘el 7 de España’, El Guaje (The Kid), and the best striker in the world. In just three short years playing in international competition he has moved into second place for all-time scoring to Raul González. An analysis of statistics also shows Villa to be the most dangerous scorer in soccer from 2005-2009. The 28 year old will only be going to his second World Cup having competed in the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
Villa will have plenty of help by another player considered to be amongst the best at his position, Fernando Torres. While he does not have the same pedigree of his counterpart, David Villa, Torres has proven himself to be extremely dangerous as a scorer. After joining Liverpool in 2007 he became the quickest player to score 50 goals for the team. Like Villa, Torres will be heading to his second World Cup, the 2006 one in Germany being his first as well.
The team as a whole has all the components that a coach likes to see. They have the maturity to keep their heads in tough contests. When they get done they not only have the ability to come back, but are also resilient enough to fight back and overcome whatever obstacles get in their way. Pair those qualities with depth and talent that would make any coach blush and you definitely has the makings of a championship caliber squad.
Several of their matches leading up to the World Cup have tested those vary attributes. Bosnia-Herzegovina gave the team a very tough match, but the team held out after David Villa was able to take advantage of a scoring opportunity. Brussels pushed the team to their limits. David Villa came to the rescue than scoring the winning goal at the 88th minute mark. Another comeback was necessary to best Istanbul 2-1; this time it was thanks to the scoring prowess of Xabi Alonso and Albert Riera. The team also took care of teams easily that they should have including Armenia, Estonia and Belgium.
So can anyone beat these guys? Logic says yes because these guys are human after all, but if and when it does happen it will be a game for the ages.


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