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Is Spain 'tournament-ready'?

 By Nick Miller

World Cup Group B: Portugal, Spain, Iran, Morocco

The ESPN FC crew discuss the World Cup draw.
The ESPN FC crew discuss the World Cup draw.

An intimidating group? Spain and Portugal stand out as the two favourites to progress, but in Iran and Morocco they have been drawn against two tricky teams who are absolutely capable of bloodying noses. Morocco were the only African nation to qualify without conceding a goal, and their sturdy defence will be required if they are to make it through, while Iran have Saman Ghoddos, the Ostersunds attacker who is obviously used to causing upsets. The European sides should go through, but it won't...

Manchester United's Juan Mata: 'Luck, it's key for every footballer's career'

Juan Mata explains how the decisions he made and support he received early on helped his career evolve.
Juan Mata feels it is difficult to see one club dominate English football like Manchester United did due to the league being more competitive.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Manchester United's Juan Mata discussed his future in football, and said how pleased he'd be if he could play until he turns 40, like United legend Ryan Giggs.
Speaking exclusively to ESPN, Juan Mata discusses the monumental boost that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba bring to Manchester United.

Even without a Premier League winners' medal, there are few who can match Juan Mata's trophy haul.

The Manchester United midfielder has won the Champions League with Chelsea, the Europa League with United, as well as the World Cup and European Championship with Spain.

There were, though, moments in his early career when his future in football looked like might pan out differently. He left home at 15 to join Real Madrid's academy. At 19, he left the Bernabeu to start again at Valencia.

"To be honest,...

Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata pays visit to old school in Madrid

Alvaro Morata took time from his busy schedule to visit his old school in Madrid and train one of the school youth teams before joining Spain's squad this week.

His old school "El Prado" was thrilled to have the Spain international on hand. The Madrid-born Morata studied at El Prado school since he was three and it was there where he started to show his goalscoring ability.

Colegio El Prado tweeted: "We couldn't have asked for a better coach than Alvaro Morata. This afternoon we shared the pitch...

 By Chris Wright

Adidas releases World Cup kits for Germany, Belgium, Spain and more

With more than 200 days left to go until the World Cup gets underway, Adidas released an entire gamut of new kits for many of the participating nations, many of which are inspired by past glories.

We have been afforded a glimpse of the nifty strips that Spain, Germany, Belgium, Colombia and Japan will be sporting in Russia next summer. With Argentina, as they did in qualifying, leaving it until the last minute.

Spain's offering -- specifically the diamond trim -- is inspired by La Roja's 1994 home...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

How France or Spain can be seeded at the World Cup finals for Russia 2018

France and Spain both still harbour hopes of being seeded at the World Cup finals in the Dec. 1 group-stage draw. And Wales' failure to qualify certainly gives France a bit of outside hope.

The top-seven nations to qualify, based on FIFA's October World Ranking, will join Russia as seeds. 

Guaranteed to be seeded (if they qualify) are: Russia (as hosts), Germany, Poland and Brazil (already qualified), Portugal, Belgium and Argentina.

This leaves at least one space open, and in the September...

Ahead of the World Cup, Lopetegui and Spain must get 'tournament-ready'

Last month, Sid Lowe discussed Spain's standing among the world's best international teams.

What exactly do you want from a team that looked flat, floundering and fractured at Euro 2016?

How about a change of coach, new players, a resounding group win, over a year since their last defeat and a thrashing of your bete noire en route to Russia?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 2010 World Cup winners and potential 2018 champions: Spain.

Since Italy toyed with their defence of the European Championship and then ripped it from the hands of Vicente Del Bosque's men, Spain have won 11 and...