World Cup 2022: All you need to know about Spain
Twelve years after lifting the World Cup for the first time and 10 since their last major international trophy, Luis Enrique’s Spain head to Qatar dreaming of more glory.
Semi-finalists at Euro 2020, the Spaniards are not among the favourites this time around.
But if they can top a tough Group E ahead of Germany, there is more than enough talent to ensure they make the latter stages again.
Spain's group stage fixtures and UK kick-off times
Spain vs Costa Rica (Wednesday, November 23, 4pm)
Spain vs Germany (Sunday, November 27, 7pm)
Japan vs Spain (Thursday, December 1, 7pm)
How Spain qualified for Qatar 2022
Spain’s journey to the top of Group B in European qualifying was not an easy one as they relied on a late Sweden collapse to avoid the play-offs.
The Swedes’ unexpected 2-0 defeat in Georgia on the penultimate matchday combined with Spain’s narrow 1-0 win over Greece saw them go into the final game one point ahead of the Scandinavians.
A tense final game in Seville saw the top two play each other with Spain knowing they would qualify if they avoided defeat — and an 86th-minute Alvaro Morata goal proved enough to secure a 1-0 victory.
How Spain could line up
Spain’s starting XI will be one of the more intriguing ones in Qatar with a wonderful mix between the old and the new, though it is very hard to predict.
Unai Simon will take the gloves and an experienced defence sees Aymeric Laporte and Pau Torres flanked by veteran full-backs Dani Carvajal and Jordi Alba.
In midfield, Sergio Busquets, 34, will play ahead of Rodri and alongside Barcelona team-mates Gavi and Pedri, who have a combined age of 37.
Up top, Morata is likely to be flanked by Dani Olmo and Nico Williams, though Ferran Torres was the top scorer in qualifying with four goals.
Predicted XI: Simon; Carvajal, Laporte, Torres, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, Gavi; Olmo, Morata, Williams
Star man: Pedri
Despite entering Euro 2020 aged just 18, Pedri was named in the Team of the Tournament last year and that rise looks set to continue.
His past 12 months have been slightly dogged by hamstring problems but the 14-cap international is a dead cert to start for Luis Enrique’s side.
Nimble with the ball at his feet, able to pick a pass and with an ever-growing eye for goal, Pedri is ready to announce himself on the world stage.
One to watch: Nico Williams
While older brother Inaki Williams will represent Ghana in Qatar, 20-year-old Nico is ready to star for Spain.
The Athletic Bilbao winger won his first two caps last September and looks set for a big role in Luis Enrique’s team.
He notched an assist in the 1-0 win over Portugal and has three goals and four assists for Athletic in LaLiga this term, showing a man in form.
The boss: Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique's target in his first World Cup as Spain boss will be to improve on La Roja's run to the semi-finals at the last European Championships.
A treble winner during his time as Barcelona manager, Luis Enrique wants his team to play as a collective and be aggressive on the pitch.
Interestingly, he will be live streaming on Twitch throughout the tournament to give fans a better insight into the national side.
Spain's official 26-man World Cup squad
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon (Athletic Bilbao), David Raya (Brentford), Robert Sanchez (Brighton)
Defenders: Pau Torres (Villarreal), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Jose Gaya (Valencia), Hugo Guillamon (Valencia), Eric Garcia (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri (Manchester City), Pedri (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Gavi (Barcelona), Carlos Soler (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcos Llorente (Atletico Madrid)
Forwards: Pablo Sarabia (Paris Saint-Germain), Nico Williams (Athletic Bilbao), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Alvaro Morata (Atletico Madrid), Ansu Fati (Barcelona), Yeremy Pino (Villarreal), Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig)
All information correct as of November 15, 2022