It seems a while ago that Spain were the kings of the world. La Roja won Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and then Euro 2012 back-to-back, but their humbling in Brazil four years ago sent them back to the drawing board.
Although the big names remain, Spain have had to put their playing style in check. Tiki-taka is no more, with counter-attacking the most common theme in world football. With so many architects in their squad, Spain are unlikely to conform with other international sides this summer, but their pass-and-move style must be executed perfectly if they are to be in with a shout for a second World Cup title.
If you are a football purist, Spain are the team to manage on the World Cup update for FIFA 18. Despite their magnitude of talent it will be tough, but with the help our RealSport guide you may just go all the way in Russia.
Spain have a 5 star rating on the World Cup update. This consists of an 84 attack, 86 midfield and 85 defence.
Spain’s potential World Cup fixtures
Round of 16
Russia or Uruguay
Argentina or France
Spain get their tournament underway against neighbours and European champions Portugal, and the winners of that fiery contest are likely to top Group B. With Spain, you should be looking to rack up the goals against the minnows of Iran and Morocco.
If you finish top of the group, you are likely to face hosts Russia in the Round of 16, although if Mohamed Salah maintains his form for the World Cup, Egypt could surprise us all and sneak into the knockout stages.
The quarterfinals is where the heavyweights meet, and it's likely to be clash with Lionel Messi’s Argentina, where Spain would still be the favourites. That wouldn’t be the case if they were to meet Germany or Brazil in the semifinal, with the victors of that tie set to be the favourites against France in the final.
With so many creative players, picking a system for Spain is hard work. Current boss Julen Lopetegui uses a 4-3-3 holding formation, and you should follow suit.
Star stopper David De Gea (92 GK reflexes) is the easy choice in goal, and he has a strong back four of Dani Carvajal, the solid Sergio Ramos (91 slide tackle), Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba ahead of him.
Sergio Busquets is in the holding role, with the creative Thiago (91 short passing) and experienced Andres Iniesta completing the midfield. David Silva and Isco provide the width as Diego Costa leads the line.
On the bench go for Pepe Reina, Inigo Martinez, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kike, Marco Asensio and the pacey pairing of Jose Callejon (90 sprint speed) and Rodrigo (92 sprint speed).
The difficulty you have with this Spain side is that there are four players who are all architects so getting them to co-operate is a tough task.
Movement will therefore be the key, especially as the lesser nations you face will be camped on the edge of their box. David Silva, who operates as central midfielder for Manchester City, should be told to ‘cut inside’ for chance creation on the instructions tab, and support runs should be put to ‘come short’.
Width will need to be provided by the pacey full backs of Dani Carvajal (86 sprint speed) and Jordi Alba (93 sprint speed), so make sure attacking runs is altered to ‘always overlap’ for both of them.
With so much movement behind it’s vital Diego Costa remains high up the pitch to act as the focal point. His support runs should be on ‘stay central’ and you have a choice of either ‘target man’ or ‘default’ for attacking runs.
In the attacking third, there isn’t a great deal of speed in the Spain side, so you may need to bring some pace off the bench. Rodrigo (89 acceleration) and Jose Callejon (90 acceleration) are possible options.
Return to the top
If you compare the current Spain squad to one that dominated world football, there isn’t a huge amount of difference in quality. The rest of the world have perhaps caught up with the Spanish, but they have a fantastic chance to reclaim gold at the World Cup in Russia.
On the World Cup mode, you should be looking to reach the semifinals at a minimum, and if you get a fortunate draw you could go all the way. Germany and Brazil are the biggest threats, but given Spain smashed Argentina 6-1 earlier this year, you shouldn’t fear anyone this summer.
Spain squad player ratings
|David de Gea||27||GK||Manchester United||91|
|Kepa Arrizabalaga||23||GK||Athletic Bilbao||82|
|Sergio Ramos||32||CB||Real Madrid||90|
|Dani Carvajal||26||RB||Real Madrid||84|
|Cesar Azpilicueta||28||RB CB||Chelsea||83|
|Inigo Martinez||27||CB||Athletic Bilbao||82|
|Nacho Fernandez||28||CB RB LB||Real Madrid||82|
|Nacho Monreal||32||LB CB||Arsenal||82|
|Sergi Roberto||26||RB CDM CM||Barcelona||81|
|Marc Bartra||27||CB||Real Betis||81|
|Alvaro Odriozola||22||RB||Real Sociedad?||79|
|Thiago||27||CM CAM CDM||Bayern Munich||88|
|Sergio Busquets||29||CDM CM||Barcelona||87|
|Andres Iniesta||34||CM LM||Barcelona||87|
|Koke||26||CM RM LM||Atletico Madrid||85|
|Javi Martinez||29||CDM CB||Bayern Munich||83|
|Ander Herrera||28||CM CDM||Manchester United||83|
|Saul||23||CM LM RM||Atletico Madrid||82|
|Jonathan Viera||28||CM CAM LW||Beijing Sinobo Guan||82|
|Asier Illarramendi||28||CDM CM||Real Sociedad||81|
|David Silva||32||RW CAM CM||Manchester City||87|
|Isco||26||LW RW CAM||Real Madrid||86|
|Marco Asensio||22||LW CAM RW||Real Madrid||84|
|Diego Costa||29||ST||Atletico Madrid||84|
|Iago Aspas||30||ST RW||Celta Vigo||83|
|Rodrigo||27||ST RW LW||Valencia||83|
|Aritz Aduriz||37||ST||Athletic Bilbao||83|
|Lucas Vazquez||26||RW RM||Real Madrid||83|
|Juan Mata||30||RW CAM||Manchester United||82|
|David Villa||36||ST LW||New York City||82|
|Vitolo||28||RW LW||Atletico Madrid||81|