World Cup 2022: Could Spain represent value to win the tournament at 9/1?
We’re now less than eight months away from the 2022 World Cup getting underway in Qatar. Spain will be looking to lift the FIFA World Cup trophy for the first time since 2010 and only the second time in the country’s history when they touch down in Qatar this December.
La Roja’s last triumph in a major tournament came a decade ago when they won three consecutive trophies between 2008-2012, including back-to-back European Championships. Since then, a string of underwhelming performances enforced major shake-ups from the managerial level, all the way down to the coaching staff and players.
Vicente del Bosque was and still is the nation’s longest-serving manager, standing at the helm for 114 matches across an eight-year tenure. In that same amount of time since, the setup has gone through four different successors, including two stints for current occupant Luis Enrique.
Under the 51-year-old’s guidance, Spain appear to have steered themselves out of muddy waters and into a position of promise. Here is why we believe there is a case to be made for the Spaniard’s being good value at 9/1 to win this year’s tournament.
Enrique's At the Wheel
Luis Enrique has taken charge of 33 games in total across his two stints as Spain boss, boasting a collective win ratio of 54%. His first spell ended prematurely for family reasons back in 2019, with Robert Moreno taking over for nine matches before he would then return.
He seems to understand the need to alter this team’s DNA to get the best results both now and long term. A slow process of stripping away what came before and building new foundations for a nation desperate to return to its former glory was imperative.
Whoever was following del Bosque’s legacy always had a tough act to follow, especially so when you factor in an aging squad and no real pathway evident for younger talent to progress into the first team.
Enrique has maintained some continuity from this older generation in the form of a few senior pros, moulded these into the spine of his team, and then surrounded these more experienced heads with a wealth of young, hungry talent across the pitch.
This success has been evident on a couple of occasions, including being the runners-up in the 2020/21 Nations League and finishing third in last year’s Euro 2020 competition.
The golden generation of Spanish football was predicated on a tika-taka style of football; one inspired and sustained at the same time as Pep Guardiola’s reign at Barcelona under a similar philosophy.
Enrique has moved with the times and chosen to adopt a slightly different approach to this idea. His Spain team still looks to keep possession of the ball, but what they do with it and how they go about it has been tweaked. There is more urgency in their general play, with an emphasis on exploiting width to get the ball directly to an overloaded 18-yard box or to a focal-point striker.
Notable absences from last summer’s Euros squad included the likes of Sergio Ramos, Thiago Alcantara, and Sergi Roberto. But having no fear in regard to these bold decisions is what makes him the right appointment for this new generation.
World Cup 2022 Qualifying Campaign
Spain 1-1 Greece
Georgia 1-2 Spain
Spain 3-1 Kosovo
Sweden 2-1 Spain
Spain 4-0 Georgia
Kosovo 0-2 Spain
Greece 0-1 Spain
Spain 1-0 Sweden
- Spain | W6 | D1 | L1 | GF15 | GA5 | GD+10 | Pts 19
- Sweden | W5 | D0 | L3 | GF12 | GA6 | GD+6 | Pts 15
- Greece | W2 | D4 | L2 | GF8 | GA8 | GD+0 | Pts 10
- Georgia | W2 | D1 | L5 | GF6 | GA12 | GD-6 | Pts 7
- Kosovo | W1 | D1 | L5 | GF5 | GA15 | GD-10 | Pts 5
Ferran Torres (4)
Alvaro Morata (2)
Pablo Sarabia (2)
Dani Olmo (2)
Carlos Soler (2)
Jose Gaya (1)
Gerard Moreno (1)
Previous Tournament Finishes
1990: Round of 16
1998: Group stage
2006: Round of 16
2014: Group stage
2018: Round of 16
There’s no getting around the fact that since winning their first World Cup over 10 years ago, results have dramatically turned. In 2014, they failed to qualify out of a group containing Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Their only victory from three games came against the Aussies who finished dead last without accumulating a single point.
Having only won two matches across the past two tournaments, something has to change. And judging by Enrique’s first tournament in charge last year, the Spaniard’s have made themselves incredibly awkward to play against - losing just a single game through a penalty shootout to eventual winners Italy in the semi-finals of the competition.
If Spain do take your fancy in the outright market for the 2022 World Cup, they are currently best priced at 9/1 with Unibet, compared to 8/1 pretty much everywhere else.