Nickname: La Furia Roja
Fifa ranking: 1
Coach: Vicente Del Bosque
Star players: Iker Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta
Recent form: W, W, W
Modern international football belongs to Spain.
Their ‘golden generation’ of players is mainly from La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, as well as a handful of world class stars who play in top teams across Europe.
Together, they have become arguably the best international team in the history of football, eclipsing even the great Uruguayan, Hungarian, West German, Italian, Dutch and Brazilian teams.
La Furia Roja enter the Confederations Cup as European champions and the world’s top-ranked team. But that only tells one third of the story.
Perennial underachievers on the global stage until Luis Aragones took over as coach, crashing out of the 2006 World Cup in the second round proved a watershed for Spain.
And today, they are the only team in history to have won three major international trophies in a row.
It all started at Euro 2008, when Fernando Torres ended decades of hurt and humiliation by scoring Spain’s winning goal in the final against Germany.
Two years later, led by Aragones’ replacement Vicente Del Bosque, and inspired by stars from Barca and Madrid, Spain swept all before them to win the World Cup in South Africa.
Incredibly, in 2012 they defended their European title by slaughtering Italy in the final of Euro 2012, ensuring their place in the pantheon of greats.
With skipper ‘Saint’ Iker Casillas making miracles in goal, and his club-mate Sergio Ramos a thoroughbred in defence, Spain are a notoriously difficult team to score against.
But it is when they have the ball at their feet that they are at their most dangerous, with Del Bosque having fashioned a blend of Barca’s tiki-taka and Madrid’s pragmatic counter-attacking, that has proved irresistible on the international stage.
When a team can afford to leave strikers like David Villa, Fernando Torres and Roberto Soldado on the bench, you know they must have a serious trick up their sleeve.
And Spain’s trick is in the form of the deadliest attacking midfield ever assembled.
Barcelona stars Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta will torment defenders all game long, with the likes of David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata and Santi Cazorla lucky to get a sniff of game time.
Spain’s strength in depth is unprecedented and frightening, and they are heavy favourites to annex their fourth major crown in succession at the Confederations Cup.
If they do, their golden generation and up-and-coming stars will then set their sights on defending the World Cup next year, a feat not achieved since Brazil won the ‘Mundial’ back to back in 1958 and 1962.