Spain are the reigning World and European champions and have enjoyed this recent success through their mastery of a short passing and movement game that maintains possession above all else, enabling them to always control the ball and thus opponents. The system of play called “tiki-taka” is most associated with Barcelona and was developed to counter the weakness of Spanish football against the more physical style that was making Spain uncompetitive.
There style of play has inevitably come under criticism as being aimless, boring and lacking directness but the technically gifted play is also admired. The style of zonal play has won Spain much success but it remains to be seen if Spain can make it two in a row.
In the last International tournament Spain reached the final with ease but lost to Brazil by a 3-0 margin. Spain qualified for the World Cup with six wins and two draws and a +11 goal difference and will be one of the strong favourites again under Vicente del Bosque. Diego Costa has switched allegiance to Spain after making his debut for the country of his birth (Brazil) over a year ago. He and Alvaro Negredo look like replacing David Villa and Fernando Torres in Brazil.