The Spain national football team (Spanish: Selección de fútbol de España)a represents Spain in Internationalassociation football and is controlled by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, the governing body for football in Spain. The current head coach is Vicente del Bosque. The Spanish side is commonly referred to as La Roja ("The Red [One]"), La Furia Roja ("The Red Fury"), La Furia Española ("The Spanish Fury") or simply La Furia ("The Fury").45 Spain became a member of FIFA in 1904 even though the Spanish Football Federation was first established in 1909. Spain's national team debuted in 1920. Since then the Spanish national team have participated in a total of thirteen of nineteen FIFA World Cup and nine of fourteen European Championships. It has a total of 73 international titles in senior and youth teams.
Spain are the reigning World and European champions, having won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. The national team are currently ranked number 2 in the World Football Elo Ratings6 and 1 in the FIFA World Ranking. They also won Euro 2008, making them the only national team so far with three consecutive wins of either the applicable continental championship or the World Cup. Between November 2006 and June 2009 Spain went undefeated for a record-equaling 35 consecutive matches before their loss to the United States, a record shared with Brazil. Its achievements have led many commentators, experts and former players to consider the current Spanish side among the best ever international sides in world football.7891011
The first Spain national football team was constituted in 1920, with the main objective of finding a team that would represent Spain at the Summer Olympics held in Belgium in that same year. Spain made their debut at the tournament on August 28, 1920 against the national team of Denmark (runners-up in the last 2 previous Olympic tournament). The Spanish managed to win that match by a scoreline of 1–0. Spain went on to win the silver medal at the Olympics and their first international silverware at any tournament.
The Spanish Civil War and World War II prevented Spain from playing any competitive matches between the 1934 World Cup and the 1950 World Cupqualifiers. At the finals in Brazil, they topped their group to progress to the final round. Spain finished in fourth place. Until 2010, this had been Spain's highest finish in a FIFA World Cup finals, which had given them the name of the "underachievers."
Spain won its first major international title after winning the 1964 European Championship held in Spain. Spain advanced to the final against the Soviet Union. Spain won the final by the score of 2–1. The victory would stand as Spain's lone major title for 44 years.
Spain was selected as host of the 1982 FIFA World Cup. Expectations were high for Spain as the host nation under coach José Santamaría. Spain progressed to the second round, but Spain were knocked out, and Santamaría was sacked. Spain qualified for the 1986 World Cup. Spain progressed to the next round. Round 2 paired Spain with Denmark, who they overcame 5–1, but in the quarterfinals a 1–1 draw with Belgium ended with Belgium winning 5–4 on penalties.
Javier Clemente was appointed as Spain's coach in 1992, and the qualification for the 1994 World Cup was achieved. Spain drew with Korea Republic 2–2 and 1–1 with Germany, before qualifying for the second round with a 3–1 victory over Bolivia. Spain continued through the second round with a 3–0 victory over Switzerland, but their tournament ended with a controversial 2–1 defeat to Italy in the quarter-finals.
In the 2002 World Cup Spain won its three group play matches. Spain beat Republic of Ireland on penalties in the second round, and faced co-hosts Korea Republic in the quarterfinals. In a controversial match, Spain eventually lost in a penalty shootout after having two goals called back for alleged infractions during regular and extra time.12
In the Euro 2008, Spain won all their games in Group D. Italy were the opponents in the quarter final match, and in a penalty shoot-out which Spain won 4–2. Spain met Russia again in the semi-final, beating them 3–0.13 In the final, Spain defeated Germany 1–0.14 This was Spain's first major title since the 1964 European Championship. Xavi was awarded the player of the tournament.15
In the 2010 World Cup, Spain advanced to the knock-out stage to defeat Portugal 1–0, reaching the quarter-finals, in which they defeated Paraguay 1–0, reaching the last four for the first time since 1950. They then advanced to the final for the first time ever by defeating Germany 1–0. In the World Cup final against the Netherlands, Andrés Iniesta scored, winning the World Cup for Spain for the first time in their history. Spain are only the second team to win a World Cup outside their own continent, and the only European team to win the World Cup outside of Europe. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas won the golden glove for only conceding two goals during the tournament. David Villa won the bronze ball and silver boot, tied for top scorer of the tournament.
Spain's qualifying matches and friendlies are currently televised by TVE & Telecinco.
Spain's traditional kit is a red jersey with yellow trim, accompanied by dark blue shorts and socks while their current away kit is a sky blue shirt with a stripe in the chest area and navy trim accompanied by white shorts with navy trim. The colour of the socks altered throughout the 1990s from black to the same colour as the blue shorts. Spain's kits have been produced by manufacturers including Adidas (from 1982 until 1984), Le Coq Sportif (from 1984 until 1992) and Adidas once again (since 1992).
Their current home kit is a lighter red than usual along with light blue shorts and red socks, similar to the older 2006 kit.16 A third kit is sometimes used and is usually blue with red and yellow trim. Rather than displaying the logo of the Spanish football federation, Spain's jersey traditionally features the coat of arms of Spain over the left breast. After winning the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the World Cup winners badge was added to the right breast of the jersey and a golden star at the top of the Spanish coat of arms.
Tiki-taka is above all, a systems approach to football founded upon team unity and a comprehensive understanding in the geometry of space on a football field.18
Tiki-taka has been variously described as "a style of play based on making your way to the back of the net through short passing and movement,"19 a "short passing style in which the ball is worked carefully through various channels,"20 and a "nonsensical phrase that has come to mean short passing, patience and possession above all else."21 The style involves roaming movement and positional interchange amongst midfielders, moving the ball in intricate patterns,22 and sharp, one or two-touch passing.17 Tiki-taka is "both defensive and offensive in equal measure" – the team is always in possession, so doesn't need to switch between defending and attacking.23 Commentators have contrasted tiki-taka with "route one physicality"19 and with the higher-tempo passing of Arsène Wenger's 2007–08 Arsenal side, which employed Cesc Fàbregas as the only channel between defence and attack.20 Tiki-taka is associated with flair, creativity, and touch,24 but can also be taken to a "slow, directionless extreme" that sacrifices effectiveness for aesthetics.21
Sid Lowe identifies Luis Aragonés' tempering of tiki-taka with pragmatism as a key factor in Spain's success in Euro 2008. Aragonés used tiki-taka to "protect a defense that appeared suspect [...], maintain possession and dominate games" without taking the style to "evangelical extremes." None of Spain's first six goals in the tournament came from tiki-taka: five came from direct breaks and one from a set play.21 For Lowe, Spain's success in the 2010 World Cup was evidence of the meeting of two traditions in Spanish football: the "powerful, aggressive, direct" style that earned the silver medal-winning 1920 Antwerp Olympics team the nickname La Furia Roja ("The Red Fury"), and the tiki-taka style of the contemporary Spanish team, which focused on a collective, short-passing, technical and possession-based game.25
Analyzing Spain's semi-final victory over Germany at the 2010 World Cup, Honigstein described the Spanish team's tiki-taka style as "the most difficult version of football possible: an uncompromising passing game, coupled with intense, high pressing." For Honigstein, tiki-taka is "a significant upgrade" of Total Football because it relies on ball movement rather than players switching position. Tiki-taka allowed Spain to "control both the ball and the opponent."23
Iker Casillas holds the record for most appearances for the Spanish team with 152 since 2000. He is one of eight Spanish player to have reached 100 caps. Xavi Hernández is second, having played 130 times since 2000. Andoni Zubizarreta played for Spain 126 times between 1985–1998 and is the third most capped player.
David Villa holds the title of Spain's highest goalscorer, scoring 56 goals since 2005, during which time he played for Spain on 95 occasions. Raúl González is the second highest goalscorer, scoring 44 goals in 102 appearances between 1996–2006. Fernando Torres is the third highest goalscorer with 36 goals in 106 appearances since 2003.
Between November 2006 and June 2009 Spain went undefeated for a record-equaling 35 consecutive matches before their loss to the United States in the Confederations Cup, a record shared with Brazil, and included a record 15-game winning streak. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Spain became the first European national team to lift the World Cup trophy outside of Europe; along with Brazil, Spain is one of two national teams to have won the FIFA World Cup outside of its home continent.
For the all-time record of the national team against opposing nations, see the team's all-time record page.
^ abSince 1992, squads for Football at the Summer Olympics have been restricted to three players over the age of 23. The achievements of such teams are not usually included in the statistics of the international team.