Current FIFA Rankings: 8
World Cup appearance: 15th time in 2018
World Cup 2014: Group Stage
Spain, the champion of 2010 has seen the other side of the coin while they were knocked out from the group stage in the 2014 Brazil World Cup. But things are pretty different now. They have excellently overcome that worst time of that particular period.
“I wouldn’t want to face Spain at the 2018 World Cup,” Messi’s this comment on Spain will help you to understand the present situation.
They topped the list of group G of Europe without any defeat to qualify for the Russia World Cup. In fact, La Rojas is in a very good rhythm right before the start of World Cup.
The Real Madrid star Isco can be the creative campaigner for the Spaniards in this World cup. While considering his absence in 2014 and 2016, you can expect something exceptional from him with his recent form. You have to keep an eye on another young gun from Real, Marco Asensio. He has been excellent in front of opponents’ box throughout the season for Real.
David Silva, who has always been there for his nation, now has the chance to unroll himself individually.
They have the combination of Pique and Ramos in the defence with Jordi Alba at the wing. Iniesta & Co. will provide something majestic in the midfield, that’s for sure. Whether coach Julen Lopetegui’s decision about Alvero Morata is veritable or not, only the selected attacking trio could answer this on the field.
Spain World Cup Squad
Coach: Julen Lopetegui
Goalkeepers: David De Gea (Manchester United), Pepe Reina (Napoli), Kepa Arrizabalaga (Athletic Bilbao)
Defenders: Jordi Alba (Barcelona), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Nacho Monreal (Arsenal), Dani Carvajal (Real Madrid), Nacho Fernández (Real Madrid), Gerard Piqué (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Álvaro Odriozola (Real Sociedad)
Midfielders: Thiago Alcantara (Bayern Munich), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona), Jorge “Koke” Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), Saul Ňiguez (Atletico Madrid), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Lucas Vázquez (Real Madrid), Francisco “Isco” Alarcón (Real Madrid)
Forwards: Iago Aspas (Celta Vigo), Rodrigo (Valencia), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid)
After a recent friendly, Costa Rica’s coach said of Spain: “They move the ball with one touch and at devilish speed.” That indicates something astonishing from the Spaniards.
Current FIFA Rankings: 36
World Cup appearances: 5th time in 2018
World Cup 2014: Group Stage
Iran is the only team in Asia, who had never been in trouble to qualify for the Russia World Cup. They remain unbeaten in 10 games in their road to Russia. Perhaps, it’s a result of longterm nursing from their coach Carlos Queiroz. He is in charge of Iran for 6 years or so.
Sardar Azmoun can be claimed as the best striker in Asia at the moment, while Reza Ghoochannejhad has been scoring goals for Heerenveen on a regular basis in the Dutch league.
The team also energies with including Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who became the first Iranian to top the scoring table of a major European league with 21 goals for Dutch side AZ Alkmaar. Saeid Ezatolahi is being hailed as the “Persian Pogba”, is another young gun, whom the team can hope with.
Veteran defender Jalal Hosseini has over hundred of appearances for his county and still going strong.
Iran World Cup Squad
Coach: Carlos Queiroz
Goalkeepers: Alireza Beiranvand (Persepolis), Rashid Mazaheri (Zob Ahan), Amir Abedzadeh (Maritimo)
Defenders: Ramin Rezaeian (KV Oostende), Mohammad Reza Khanzadeh (Padideh), Morteza Pouraliganji (Al Saad), Pejman Montazeri (Esteghlal), Seyed Majid Hosseini (Esteghlal), Milad Mohammadi (Akhmat Grozny), Roozbeh Cheshmi (Esteghlal)
Midfielders: Saeid Ezatolahi (Amkar Perm), Masoud Shojaei (AEK Athens), Mehdi Torabi (Saipa), Ashkan Dejagah (Nottingham Forest), Omid Ebrahimi (Esteghlal), Ehsan Hajsafi (Olympiakos), Vahid Amiri (Persepolis), Saman Ghoddos (Ostersunds FK), Ali Gholizadeh (Saipa)
Forwards: Alireza Jahanbakhsh (AZ Alkmaar), Karim Ansarifard (Olympiakos), Mahdi Taremi (Al-Gharafa Sports Club), Sardar Azmoun (Rubin Kazan), Reza Ghoochannejhad (SC Heerenveen)
Iran has their only victory at World Cup finals in 1998 against the USA. After having Spain, Portugal and Morocco as group mate, it doesn’t seem like that they will be able to have their second win at World cup in Russia. But who knows what the future is holding in its timeline?