The reign of Spain will be tested

The reigning World and European champions will still be the overwhelming favourites at Euro 2012 but it would be a mistake to give them the trophy now.

Football News: Xavi

When Spain lifted the European Championship title almost four years ago, it marked the end of decades of underachievement on the international stage. Vicente del Bosque's team have not looked back since.

Having finally ended their wait for a major title, Spain swept aside all-comers at the World Cup 2010 in South Africa and are yet to show any signs of letting up. They cruised through the qualifying for Euro 2012, topping their group with eight wins from eight games.

However, the scenario of a team winning the World Cup in between two European Championship successes on the bounce seems very unlikely even if it is a Spain side run by the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta in midfield.

Spain

World ranking: 1 (as of November 2011).
Manager: Vicente del Bosque.

Can they win?

Undoubtedly, we are looking at a golden generation of Spanish football right now. Especially in the midfield department where you have at least seven world class players (Alonso, Busquets, Iniesta, Fabregas, Silva, Busquets and Xavi) competing for limited positions.

If you had to pick one diamond of a player from all those gems though, Xavi would fit the bill perfectly. The Barcelona ace has had no problems translating his club form to major international tournaments and his ability to dictate the ebb and flow of the game from the middle of the park has spelt the end for many opponents.

There is of course an interesting underlying story to Spain's abundance of talent. So far there have not been any reports of divisions within Vincent del Bosque's squad but there is a growing worry that the fierce club rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid - Spain's two best clubs - is dampening spirits in the Spanish camp.

The two club sides which make up a large chunk of the Spanish team have had a string of fiery clashes in the last 18 months and it has not gone unnoticed - by Spain goalkeeper Pepe Reina no less - that there appears to be some bad blood simmering between certain players.

Perhaps it's time Del Bosque give Manchester City midfielder David Silva an extended run in the side. The City star could be the ace up of the sleeve for Spain to secure them yet another trophy. He has been in superb form for the Barclays Premier League side in the new season and could stake a real claim for the first XI in the Spain squad if he carries it on into 2012.

Best performance at European championships: Winners in 2008.



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