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Gaizka Mendieta

Gaizka Mendieta

Guest Blog: Mendieta: Spain could have it tough this time

Tags: Argentina, Brazil, Sony Handycam ®, Spain

Spain's National Soccer team poses for a quick team photo before playing El Salvador's National team in a friendly match at FedEx Field June 7, 2014 in Landover, Maryland.  Spain defeated El Salvador 2-0.      AFP Photo/Paul J. Richards        (Photo credit should read PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images)Spain will have a difficult World Cup. It has been six or seven years since this generation started to play together and winning is harder and harder when you come to these tournaments.

They are the world and European champions, but that doesn’t make it any easier. We also see that in football there are cycles, so groups and teams must be renewed. That’s my doubt, whether Spain will get to Brazil 100 percent prepared. If they are, I’m sure they are favorites, but also Brazil and Argentina will be a big threat.

The first match against the Netherlands is the worst but after that Australia should not be a problem for Spain. Chile are a threat, of course, but Spain should have no trouble going through to the knockout phase.

The Netherlands fixture could also be a positive for the players in terms of ensuring they are focused from the start. But this is a World Cup, weather conditions and many other factors can have an influence.

Dark horses…

I bet Chile will be the dark horses and a European team will be the disappointment. Italy may not arrive at one of their best moments but they are always very competitive, as are Germany. I could not name one particular team.

Weather conditions will also have an influence. Fortunately for the European teams, most of the stars in South America for Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina and Colombia play in Europe, so acclimatization is not as different as with other generations.

The Golden Boot…

It depends on how Spain will play because, being one of the favorite teams, they would be one of the best options to provide the top scorer. For me Brazil would not have a candidate. I think, despite having great players, they don’t normally score a lot of goals. Maybe I should bet on Colombia strikers Jackson Martinez and Carlos Bacca, or Luis Suarez.

Best player…

We need to analyse the fact that Lionel Messi’s season has not been good. OK, in numbers it has but not so much in quality. Maybe Cristiano Ronaldo will be the best. The fact that Brazil are the hosts can also help Neymar.

Best goalkeeper…

There are great goalkeepers in the tournament. Germany have Manuel Neuer, although he has injury doubts. Iker Casillas for Spain could also be the star. I think for some reason fate has willed that Iker, now an Arsenal target, was in Brazil!

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