Del Bosque: Brazil are the number one favourites
Spain’s national team manager Vicente Del Bosque has spoken about his squad and the greatest favourites for the upcoming World Cup, claiming that Brazil is the biggest favourite, whilst also giving his thoughts about the new generation of players coming up in the national team.
Del Bosque named Brazil as the primary favorite to lift the cup. “Brazil is the favorite number one”, he said. “They have a great team, they work as a team, but it will not be easy. I imagine a Brazil-Croatia where the Croatians will make things difficult for the Brazilians”, Del Bosque continued.
Del Bosque also spoke about Spain’s possibilities in the World Cup. “We are the reigning champions, we will defend the title”, he said. “Anyone who follows football knows that there are many teams that are favourites, that can think about winning the World Cup. Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Brazil and many more”, he continued. “It’s a short tournament. Seven matches, you can get a good streak. Many teams can aspire to be Champions. Spain is in that group.”
Speaking about Spain’s group stage rivals, Del Bosque was full of respect to the opponents: “Holland has made a revolution from 2010 to today, although they still have some of the important players from then. They also have Van Gaal, which is great and will surely cause us problems.”
In addition to Holland, Spain’s group also has Chile and Australia. “Chile has also shown to us, when we have played against them, that they are a tough rival. It will be very complicated. Australia is the most anonymous, we don’t have clues. First we focus on Holland and Chile because we play them first. We have time to watch Australia when we are there and see how they are”, the coach stated.
With regards to Spain’s squad selection, Del Bosque was well aware that not everyone could be happy. “It’s impossible that the whole world will support the list, it’s impossible that some of the interested parties don’t feel hurt. When you have 40 players or so that could come, some will feel bad.”
The coach denied feeling obligated to choose the Cup-winners of 2010. “We don’t have to be slaves of that time”, he said, adding that one can not “permanently live in remembrance.”
Spain’s style of play has been talked about a lot, not least due to the Confederations Cup defeat to Brazil, but Del Bosque assured that he is confident in his players: “Our style of play is not exclusive, there many opportunities and we have a style that we mark with the midfielders we have. We don’t want to go against the characteristics of our players. For us, in the concept that we have, we haven’t gone wrong.”
One of the summer’s interesting aspects is tipped to be Spain’s midfield and the possible transition from Xavi to Koke. “We talk about the generation of Xavi, Iniesta, Torres… little by little we have two generations uniting and we have a lot of faith in the young people. In the phrase from Xavi to Koke we can take more out of this generation”, said Del Bosque.
Speaking about Koke, Del Bosque was full of faith. “I have blind faith in Koke”, he said. Koke – who is a part of Spain’s initial World Cup squad and who has enjoyed an impressive season in Atlético Madrid – is expected to have a big role in the summer’s competition. “He can play in any position and always do well. Against Finland we put him on the right because we were sure that he could play there. He has a lot of emotion, he’s a protagonist in all of the matches, defending, constructing and attacking”, said Del Bosque, adding that “Koke has had a great year and deserves to be on the list [for the World Cup].”
The national team coach also opened the doors to a new generation that is knocking the door of the senior team. “The Sub-21 team failed in the Olympics, but they are really good players for us. Ander Herrera, Iturraspe, are players that will help us in the future. And then others like Busquets who still have a lot to give”, he stated.
In the past, there has been speculation about the relations between players of Barcelona and Real Madrid. Del Bosque was quick to deny all kinds of differences. “We are well and have an understanding of the situations. In the past we have had some influences that were not positive. Now, beyond the competition between players, they have to understand that the Spanish national team is untouchable.”