When Spain lost their first match at South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup, looked like it would be all the same again. Spain was the ultimate underachiever at the most important Soccer tournament of the planet. They were used to arrive between the favorites and leave far from the top, until 2010. After that first loss, Spain won 6 games in a row, including of course the World Cup Final against Netherlands, and received just one more goal. At Brazil, Spain will face the pressures of a new role and status. They are the defending champions.
Difficulties of being the Champion
Spain has a historically difficult task for 2014: repeat as a World Champion.
Only two times one nation has obtained two World Titles in a row: Italy in 1934 and 1938, and Brazil in 1958 and 1962. Just other two nations have lost at the final game their opportunity to repeat title: Argentina, winner in 1986 and runner up in 1990, and again Brazil, winner in 1994 and runner up in 1998.
Since 2002, things have been more difficult for the current Champion. Only two times in World Cups history, the Champion was eliminated in the first round of the next Cup: France in 2002 after winning in 1998, and Italy in 2010 after winning in 2006.
(All results compiled from FIFA.com World Cup archives.)
However, in 2012, Spain achieved a not less difficult task when they repeated as European Champions, first nation ever to accomplish that. (Results compiled from UEFA.com Euro tournament history.)
The quest for a new title
At Brazil, Spain will show basically the same team that won at South Africa. The most important additions would be the players that are dominating Spanish League playing for Atlético de Madrid, like Diego Costa, Koke and Juanfran. But with coach Vicente del Bosque still on charge, and the core of Xavi Hernández, Andrés Iniesta, Cesc Fábregas, Xabi Alonso and David Silva intact, good play and ball possession are guaranteed in 2014.
Spain won just 1-0 all their second leg matches in 2010. It was not an easy path to the title. 2014 won’t be easy either. They are in a very strong Group B, with 2010 runners up Netherlands, Chile and Australia, and a potential round of sixteen match against the host nation, Brazil, depending on which teams finish as first and second of their groups.
Still, Spain looks in strong shape and in a very good position to repeat title, a thing that has not happened in 42 years.