Spain brought an end to their short preparations for the 2022 Qatar World Cup by beating a modest Jordan side 3-1 on Thursday evening. Their only friendly prior to the tournament proves that La Roja are firing on all cylinders while national coach Luis Enrique silenced those critical of his choices of who to take to Qatar.
Luis Enrique revealed the 26-man squad that will be heading to the World Cup last Friday. With three goalkeepers, nine defenders, six midfielders and eight forwards, La Roja hope that a blend of experienced players and younger ones is the way to winning their second World Cup.
Luis Enrique remains blindly faithful to the trio of goalkeepers made up of Unai Simón (Athletic Club), Roberto Sánchez (Brighton) and David Raya (Brentford), who have defended Spain's goalposts since March.
The defensive line remains largely the same. Carvajal (Real Madrid) and César Azpilicueta (Chelsea) will be the right backs, with Jordi Alba (Barcelona) and José Luis Gayà (Valencia) on the left. Centre-backs include Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City), Eric García (Barcelona), Pau Torres (Villarreal) and Hugo Guillamón (Valencia).
Veteran Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), the only player left from the 2010 World Cup-winning team, will be the anchor in midfield, with the younger Rodrigo (Manchester City) closely following him. More creative midfielders include Pedri (Barcelona), Marcos Llorente (Atlético Madrid), Carlos Soler (PSG), Koke (Atlético Madrid) and Gavi (Barcelona).
The only out-and-out striker in the squad is Álvaro Morata (Atlético Madrid), who will be looking to have goal-scoring opportunities fed to him by fellow attackers in Ferran Torres (Barcelona), Dani Olmo (RB Leipzig), Nico Williams (Athletic Club), Pablo Sarabia (PSG), Marco Asensio (Real Madrid), Yéremy Pino (Villarreal) and Ansu Fati (Barcelona).
Luis Enrique's final squad is a decision to keep consistent with his choices over the last two years. He has maintained the core group of players, the same ones who qualified for the 2022 World Cup and booked their place in the 2023 Nations League finals
The 26 players have an average age of 25.61 years old, with 17 of them being part of Spain's successful Euro 2020 run, where they lost in the semi-final to eventual winners Italy.
England are also hoping to win their second World Cup in Qatar, with Gareth Southgate's men as one of the favourites to go all the way. They'll play the United States, Iran and fellow Britons Wales in the group stage.
The Welsh side qualified for their first World Cup since 1958, and are hoping that their strong squad, led by ex-Real Madrid player Gareth Bale, can see them go as far as possible.