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Will Spain make a new record at Euro 2020 without Sergio Ramos? Photo Insidesports

Spain won consecutive European Championships in 2008 and 2012, either side of their World Cup victory in 2010. But by the time the last Euros came around, that was a squad in decline and after limping through their group they fell to Turkey in the round-of-16.

Now five years hence, with a new-look side almost wholly revamped under the guidance of Luis Enrique (the last man to win a Champions League with Barcelona), they will be confident that they have what it takes to make the difference.

Spain boss Luis Enrique caused a storm heading into Euro 2020 fixtures this summer by failing to name a single Real Madrid player in his squad. Yet there’s no doubting the players he has available can mount a serious challenge for the trophy.

The likes of Rodri, Koke and Thiago Alcantara are at the peak of their powers right now, and having Sergio Ramos in the 26-man squad really doesn’t look like much of a problem. Yes, Spain are in a transition phase but they are still set to dazzle in the tournament, taking place in June and July 2021 having been postponed from 2020 due to the pandemic.

Enrique has opted for an inexperienced forward line with the likes of Adama Traore and Ferran Torres earning their spots after strong campaigns in the Premier League. Both men could take Euro 2020 by storm, such is their potential.

Whether Spain can get all the way to the final remains to be seen but they are well placed to escape Group E and be a force to be feared in the knockout stages.

When are Spain playing next?

Spain’s first fixture at Euro 2020 will see them face Sweden in a clash on Monday 14th June 2021.

The match kicks off at 8pm (UK time) and will be shown live on BBC One and online via the iPlayer.

Estadio de La Cartuja in Seville will host the game, meaning Spain have something of a home advantage over the Swedes.

Monday 14th June

Game 1 – Group E: Spain v Sweden (8pm)

Saturday 19th June

Game 2 – Group E: Spain v Poland (8pm)

Wednesday 23rd June

Game 3 – Group E: Slovakia v Spain (5pm)

Euro 2020 Spain Preview

In World Cup 2018, Spain was one of the favorites to win. However, they massively underperformed and even though they qualified from the group consisting of themselves, Portugal, Iran, and Morocco, they were knocked out by the hosts Russia in penalties.

The big news is that Sergio Ramos has been dropped out of the Spain squad and they are without any Real Madrid players.

Spain has an excellent squad depth across the board and Enrique will have a number of players to choose from in each position giving him a selection headache when he will have to narrow down his squad and finalize it ahead of the tournament.

Spain in Group E of Euro 2020: Despite their shaky start to World Cup qualifying where they dropped points against Greece and scraped past Georgia, Spain is the big favorite to win this group. On top of winning their Nations League group and having the group’s strongest squad, La Roja also has a home advantage in all group matches.

Spain in Group E: Head-to-head record

Photo UEFA
Photo UEFA

Group E at Euro 2021 will consist of Spain, Poland, Sweden, and Slovakia. The winner of the group will face third-place from either Group A, B, C, or D in the Round of 16 – which is likely to be one of Switzerland, Turkey, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Austria, Scotland, or the Czech Republic.

The team that finishes runner-up in Group E will play the second-placed team from Group D in the first knockout phase; most likely to be either Croatia or England.

Spain’s full 24-man Euro 2020 squad

Photo Barca Universal
Photo Barca Universal

Goalkeepers: David de Gea (Manchester United), Unai Simón (Athletic), Robert Sánchez (Brighton & Hove Albion)

Defenders: José Gayà (Valencia), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal), Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Eric García (Manchester City), Diego Llorente (Leeds United), César Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Marcos Llorente (Atlético)

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Rodri Hernández (Manchester City), Pedri (Barcelona), Thiago Alcántara (Liverpool), Koke (Atlético), Fabián Ruiz (Napoli)

Forwards: Dani Olmo (Leipzig), Mikel Oyarzabal (Real Sociedad), Gerard Moreno (Villarreal), Álvaro Morata (Juventus), Ferran Torres (Manchester City), Adama Traoré (Wolves), Pablo Sarabia (Paris).

**READ MORE: Euro 2020 - Predictions for All 24 Teams, Full Squad List

The best players Spain are bringing to Euro 2020

Goalkeeper: David de Gea

Photo Squawka
Photo Squawka

The Spanish national team goalkeeper seems to be a cursed spot in that anyone who gets the role or comes near it sees their form dip. None of the three choices to mind the net are in fantastic form, but David de Gea will probably get the job and Spain will be asking that he finally delivers some of that Manchester United magic in a Spain shirt.

Defence: Aymeric Laporte

With Sergio Ramos out, there will be a lot of hope and expectations on Aymeric Laporte to gel into the team very quickly. The Manchester City defender, who turns 27 this month, still hasn’t played senior international football having been ignored by France for years despite rising through the ranks. He was called up by Deschamps for 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Bulgaria and the Netherlands but watched on from the bench in both games. He was also included in the squad for matches against Albania and Andorra in qualifying for this tournament but pulled out due to injury and didn’t get another chance.

The centre-back is eligible for Luis Enrique’s side thanks to his Spanish great-grandparents, who were from the Basque region thus also allowing him to come through the Bilbao youth system in the first place. Former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui had previously made attempts to bring Laporte into his squad in 2016.

Midfield: Rodri

While Barcelona’s sensation Pedri could start for Spain at the tender age of 18, the key man in that midfield has to be Rodri. The Manchester City midfielder has calmly and quietly taken over from Sergio Busquets as the chief conductor of the Spanish side, and arrives at Euro 2020 as a Premier League champion to boot. He might well be a Champions League winner too! Rodri is a solid defender and a superb passer that knows when to press, when to sweep and when to spray the ball forward to his playmakers; he will have Luis Enrique’s side humming with harmonious rhythm come the summer.

Attack: Ferran Torres

Photo Football Cards Direct
Photo Football Cards Direct

The nature of Luis Enrique’s side means selecting a key man up top is difficult but as much as it could be Alvaro Morata leading the line, it’s Ferran Torres who has been doing the damage recently. The youngster bagged a hat-trick against Germany in November and his production for Man City, especially in the Champions League, marks him out as a potentially prolific wing-forward at Euro 2020. The intelligence of his movement coupled with the crispness of his shooting technique gives him a great chance to bag the goals that Spain will need to make their possession count for something.

Sergio Ramos to lead from home

When Laporte made the switch to Spain, there were dreams of the Man City defender joining Ramos at centre-back, but instead he will be replacing him. That’s because, for the first time since Euro 2004, Ramos will not be in the squad, left out due to an injury-hit end of campaign.

It’s also the first time in a major tournament that Real Madrid will have no representatives in Spain’s squad, as Nacho Fernandes and Lucas Vazquez are also absent. But that won’t stop Ramos from being a vocal supporter watching at home.

Photo CBS Sports
Photo CBS Sports

“After a tough few months and a strange season unlike anything I have experienced in my career comes the Euros,” he said in a message on Instagram.

“I have fought and worked body and soul every day to be able to reach 100% with Real Madrid and the National Team, but things do not always go the way you want.

“It hurts me not to have been able to help my team more and not defend Spain but, in this case, it is better to rest, fully recover well and, next year, return as we have always done. It hurts not to represent your country, but you have to be honest and sincere.

“I wish all my teammates the best of luck and I hope we have a great Euro Cup. I will cheer as one more from home.”

Who is Spain Coach

Luis Enrique is on his second spell as Spain boss, having first been given the job back in 2018 after Spain’s debacle at the 2018 World Cup where they sacked Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament. His first spell saw them play six games, winning four of them. At the start of 2019, he stepped down to tend to a family matter, with the implication being that one day he would return to the role.

Euro 2020: Spain's Team Details, Fixtures, Top Players and Predictions
The head coach

That day came in late 2019, after his assistant Roberto Moreno had led the team through Euro 2020 qualification. With Lucho back in charge, Spain looked more ropey. However, they put in a masterclass in the 6-0 win against Germany at the end of 2020, and have since made an unbeaten start to World Cup qualifying.

Lucho has no international management experience at major tournaments, but he guided Barcelona to a treble in 2015 so his ability to handle the big stage and get his team to deliver on his plans is unquestioned. He could be just the man Spain need to get back on top.

The tactics

Luis Enrique’s Spain have a largely uncomplicated style of playing that follows the passing blueprint set out by Pep Guardiola in 2008 and adopted for Spain by Vicente Del Bosque in 2009. De Gea will spray the ball out from the back (or try to) and get attacks started. Ball-playing centre-backs push possession forwards through midfield.

From here it is very familiar, as we’d expect a midfield loaded up with technical talent to dominate the ball as well as drive it forward to the wingers, who see more play under Luis Enrique than most Spain bosses. The former Blaugrana boss places an emphasis on direct, vertical play rather than extended bouts of possession. The likes of Fabian Ruiz and Pedri will be key to moving the ball through midfield swiftly.

Spain predictions: Finalist

Spain’s squad is a near-perfect balance of experience and youthful exuberance, and they are considered one of the favourites for the tournament. It’s not hard to see why. Busquets, Cesar Azpilicueta and David De Gea are seasoned winners, while Traore, Torres and Rodri form a cohort of young talent pushing into the first team.

Enrique’s men should have no issues topping the group stage and playing in Glasgow in the last-16. They could end up facing England in the quarter-finals – and that clash would certainly be close.

In fact, plenty would argue Spain would get the better of the Three Lions and charge on to the final. This could well be La Roja’s year once again, although a possible meeting with France in the final may be a step too far.

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