After the disastrous performance in the 2014 World Cup, it seems like Spain have left the bitter past behind and are back to winning ways.

The Spanish team that played the World Cup gave a performance that was well below expectations. Stalwarts like Xavi, Iniesta, Casillas and Alonso received a lot of flak for failing to produce the magic they usually did wearing the red colours of their national team. Manager Vicente Del Bosque also was not spared as many called for the former Real Madrid manager to hang up his boots despite Spain having won 3 consecutive major international competitions under Del Bosque.

The ghosts of the 2014 World Cup have been buried deep in the past now and there seems to be a new spurt of energy in the Spain dressing room. Despite people calling for his retirement, Del Bosque decided to honour his contract which runs until the end of Euro 2016. Xavi and Alonso, who are clearly past their prime, did the right thing and paved the way for younger players by drawing the curtains on their illustrious international career.

Under manager Vicente Del Bosque, Spain are reinventing their game in the Euro 2016 qualifiers. Del Bosqueai??i??s men have had a considerably decent start to the campaign having won 3 and lost a game against group leaders Slovakia out of the 4 games they have played. The Spanish side, though sticking to their usual game involving high passing rate and majority of the possession, have managed to bring a new energy to the game. The squad has been revamped to accommodate new faces, especially in the midfield. The Spanish side has scored a total of 13 goals so far and conceded only 3, two of which came in the defeat to Slovakia, maintaining a 10 goal difference, the highest in Group C.

Goalkeepers

Iker Casillas is a highly respected figure in the world of football, more so in Spain. But the goalkeeper has been going through a rough patch in his career. Casillas, after falling down the pecking order under Mourinho and in Ancelottiai??i??s first season as head coach, had still managed to be the apple of Del Bosqueai??i??s eye as the Spain manager preferred to field Casillas ahead of Valdes and Reina. Casillas was the no. 1 in the World Cup for Spain and that is where the tarnishing of his saintly image began. Casillas, who had only played in the Champions League, Copa Del Rey and a few games in La Liga, was handed the captainai??i??s armband and made the first choice keeper despite the keeper being under the scanner for almost costing Real Madrid the Champions League. Del Bosque showed a lot of faith in Casillas, who, in turn failed to live up to the expectations and gave a dismal performance in the entire World Cup. In the World Cup we probably saw the worst of Iker Casillas, especially in the opening fixture against Netherlands. Casillas continued his poor performances in the new season for Real Madrid as well as in the Euro Qualifiers from Spain. His performance in the defeat to Slovakia received a lot of criticism and even Del Bosque decided it was time to relegate Casillas to the bench in favour of De Gea. De Gea has been in great form for Manchester United and started the game against Luxembourg which Spain went on to win 4-0. The presence of De Gea gives Spain a lot of depth in the goalkeeping department. De Gea is young and has a promising future ahead of him and on the other hand, Casillas, who is already a legend, seems to have regained his confidence and has been making fewer errors in the recent club games. The presence of two World-class keepers in De Gea and Casillas will give Del Bosque a dilemma which he will surely relish.

Defence

A defence consisting of Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba and Juanfran should not be having many problems, right? Wrong! The back four of Spain includes a La Liga Champion, a Champions League winner and two players from Barcelona who even in bad form do better than most of the other European clubs. Yet this star-studded defence failed badly in the World Cup. Ramos, despite having had one of his most successful seasons winning the Champions League and Copa Del Rey, failed to lead by example in the World Cup. In the games against Netherlands and Chile, Ramos was below par and all in all had a disastrous World Cup. Gerard Pique on the other hand, has still not gotten over the World Cup debacle and a poor last season for Barcelona which ended the Catalans without a trophy to show for. Pique has been in bad form this season and has usually featured on the bench for Barcelona as Mascherano and new signing Mathieu are preferred over him. Another Barcelona player, Jordi Alba has been putting in below par performances for his club and the magic that he displayed in the Euro 2012 is missing from his game. Ramos has improved his performances and his position in the team is certainly not under threat. Pique is also in a safe position as his abilities and experience make him one of the best centre-backs in the world. Del Bosque has options aplenty when it comes to full-backs as players like Juanfran, Azpilicueta, Carvajal and Bernat are doing very well domestically for their respective clubs.

Midfield

The Spaniards have been producing some of the best midfielders for a long time now. Players like Iniesta, Xavi and Alonso are veterans of the game and have etched their names in the history books forever. The 3 were a pivotal part of Del Bosqueai??i??s side that played the 2014 World Cup. Del Bosque started with the three in the midfield against Netherlands and that proved to be a wrong decision as Spain went on to lose the game 5-1 with Xavi, Iniesta and Alonso unable to make an impact and lacked the pace that was necessary in a game with such high intensity. In the after matches, Koke replaced Xavi and after the World Cup, Alonso and Xavi announced their retirement. Now in the Euro Qualifiers, Del Bosque has ample choice to experiment in the midfield. Players like Koke, Cazorla and Silva have been featuring regularly for the Spanish side. Koke has found the right chord in the national team playing a role deep in the midfield alongside of Sergio Busquets. The injury to Andres Iniesta gave Isco a chance to fill his role and boy he did a great job! Isco started for Spain in the game against Belarus and scored the first goal of the game on his senior team debut. The midfielders Del Bosque has at his disposal are young, dynamic and have a lot of quality in them. The only problem Del Bosque has when it comes to his midfielders is the overload of quality and giving each of them a fair chance.

Forwards

The likes of Fernando Torres and David Villa are well past their prime and it is now time for the youngster to step up and make a name for themselves. Diego Costa is one of the best strikers in the world and yet the Chelsea player has failed to adjust to the Spanish game. Meanwhile, youngster Paco Alcacer is making full use of his chances and making a place for himself in the squad. The Valencia forward has scored 3 goals in 4 matches and is doing a great job under Del Bosque. On the other hand, former Real Madrid player Alvaro Morata also got his first senior cap in the game against Belarus. With so many options to choose from, Del Bosque will certainly not complain when it comes to choosing the right man to field in front of the midfield.

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