The Spain national football team is a Spanish men’s International Association football. It is controlled by the Royal Spanish Football Federation, which represents the governing body for football in Spain. The current manager and the head coach is Julen Lopetegui who joined the team after successfully leading younger Spanish national teams and also after Vicente del Bosque stepped down from the duty after Euro 2016.
The Spanish team is usually referred to as La Roja which means “The Red [One],” La Furia Roja or “The Red Fury,” La Furia Española or”The Spanish Fury” as well as simply La Furia or “The Fury.” Spanish National Team became a member of FIFA in 1904 despite the fact that their Spanish Football Federation was established later, in 1909. However, Spain´s debut was in 1920 and ever since they participated in a total of 14 out of 20 FIFA World Cups as well as 9 out of 14 UEFA European Championships.
Spain is among eight national teams which have been crowned as FIFA World Cup champions. Spaun won the 2010 tournament in South Africa after defeating the Netherlands with 1–0. With this success the Spain became the first European team to win the title outside of Europe after the European title on Euro 2008 and managed to win Euro 2012, defeating Germany and Italy in the respective finals. With these successive titles, Spain also became the only national team to have three consecutive wins in the continental championship or the World Cup.
For six years, in the period from 2008 to 2013 the national team of Spain won FIFA Team of the Year, the most of any European nation, and second-most in the world, with only Brazil in front of them. Furthermore, between November 2006 and June 2009, Spain went undefeated for 35 consecutive matches equaled the existing record by Brazil. The team lost the match against the United States which stopped them from breaking the record.
The first Spain national football team was brought up together in 1920, with the desire to find the team which would represent the country at the Summer Olympics in Belgium in that same year. The team made their debut at the tournament against Denmark on 28 August 1920. The team they were playing against was a medallist at the last two Olympic tournaments. Nevertheless, the Spanish team managed to win the match with the result of 1–0. They eventually finished the Olympics with the silver medal, which was a great success for the young team.
First FIFA World Cup for Spain came in 1934 in Italy. The team defeated Brazil in their first game. However, they lost in the quarter-finals to the hosts and eventual champions of the tournament Italy. The political situation in the country including the Spanish Civil War and World War II prevented Spanish national team from playing any competitive matches after the 1934 World Cup. The team returned in the 1950 edition’s qualifiers. At the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, Spain finished their group as first and finished fourth in the overall tournament. Until 2010, this had been their best success in the FIFA World Cup. Because of this, they had the name “underachievers.”
However, Spanish national team won its first major international title in 1964 when European Championship was held in Spain. The team defeated the Soviet Union in the final at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium with the result 2–1. This was their only major title in the period of 44 years. The country was once again selected to host the big tournament in 1982. It was the Spain the FIFA World Cup, where Spain reached the second round. In the World Cup in 1986 the team reached the quarter-finals before they lost to Belgium in a penalty shootout.
With Javier Clemente as their coach, the team reached quarter-finals once again in the 1994 World Cup. At this point of the competition they met Italian national team, and the match between these teams became controversial since the referee Sándor Puhl did not notice or sanction Italian defender Mauro Tassotti for hitting Luis Enrique with his elbow inside Spain’s penalty area.
In the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea, Spain won all three matches in the group stage and then defeated the Republic of Ireland on penalties in the second round. After that, the team faced co-hosts South Korea in the quarter-finals which they lost in a shootout.
At UEFA Euro 2008, Spain also won all their matches within the Group D and met Italy in the quarter-final match. Spanish national team defeated Italy 4–2 on penalties. Afterward, they met Russia in the semi-final and beat them 3–0. In the final, Spain was playing against Germany. They won the match with Fernando Torres scoring the only goal in the entire match. This was their first major title since the 1964 European Championship, and Xavi was chosen as the player of the tournament.
In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Spain made it to the final for the first time after defeating Germany once again with the result 1–0. In the finals, they met the Netherlands, and Andrés Iniesta scored the only goal in the match and in extra time. Goalkeeper Iker Casillas was selected as the best goalkeeper and received the golden glove for conceding only two goals during the tournament.David Villa won the bronze ball as well as silver boot, for top scorer of the tournament.