Spain’s road to South Africa
Spain’s performance in qualifying for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa was inarguably top notch. As well as winning every single one of their ten games, Spain came out as the European zone’s second top scorers with twenty eight goals, and conceded only five.
Having shown such a strong side during their qualifying campaign, and being blessed with a squad built up of depth and sheer talent, the Spaniards have consistently raised their game rather than becoming complacent after their UEFA Euro 2008 victory.
Spain followed up their silverware with a narrow win against Bosnia-Herzegovina, which they scraped 1–0 due to a solitary strike from David Villa. This was a fine example of the harsh resistance the side has had to overcome since Austria/Switzerland. Although they despatched Armenia and Estonia without too much hassle, their away clash in Belgium and a double-header against the EURO 2008 semi-finalists Turkey forced Spain to dig deep for the points they desperately needed.
In Brussels, they fought back to ensure a 2-1 victory with an 88th minute Villa strike. Following that came a 1-0 success over Turkey in Madrid with the goal from Gerard Pique. The return in Istanbul resulted in another 2-1 comeback, with goals from Xabi Alonso and his then Liverpool team-mate Albert Riera. Belgium were smashed 5-0 in La Coruna and Spain’s ticket to South Africa 2010 was secured with two matches to spare after a pleasant 3-0 home win against Estonia.
Spain didn’t take their eye off the mark though, topping off their almost flawless campaign with victory over Armenia and a massive 5-2 away defeat of their closest challengers, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Spain have taken part in the finals of twelve FIFA World Cups, and haven’t missed a single edition of the tournament since they failed to reach Germany in 1974. Their best performance at the event was a fourth-place finish at Brazil, 1950. Spain also maintain two major international titles from the 1964 and 2008 European Championships. They are in Group H of the group phase for South Africa 2010, along with Switzerland, Honduras and Chile.
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