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Is Spain 'tournament-ready'?

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.
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...

Pique voting in Catalan election leaves Spain in awkward spot ahead of World Cup qualifying

Sid Lowe believes Gerard Pique is making a concerted effort to not be a distraction to his Spain teammates with his latest comments.

How long ago it must seem to Julen Lopetegui since his Spain side tore Italy to shreds and left themselves not only on the threshold of World Cup qualification, but in a tight group of two or three teams capable of winning in Russia next summer.

Lopetegui, whose own playing career was packed full of thorny and damaging experiences, is not a frivolous man. The Spain coach will unquestionably already have been viewing La Roja's impending home match with Albania and then the testing trip to Israel...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

European World Cup qualifying - how Spain can make it to Russia

Spain and Sergio Ramos will essentially qualify for Russia with a victory against Albania.

The final rounds of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup take place between Oct. 5 and Oct. 10.

The nine group winners qualify automatically, with the other four places decided by playoffs between the eight best runners-up.

Group G: 1. Spain, 22 points (h-Albania, a-Israel)

Goal difference over Italy means Spain would essentially qualify with a win at home to Albania, but they need four points to be mathematically certain.

Click here for other UEFA teams' qualifying chances.

After falling from football's summit, Spain look ready to return in 2018

It's safe to say Spain have Liechtenstein's number, beating them 8-0 on both occasions in Group G of World Cup Qualifying.

If you chose to conduct a comprehensive health check on the Spain national team, there are a number of symptoms that aren't hard to find or interpret.

Glance at the top of Group G: Spain have a comprehensive lead. Look back at the 11 unanswered goals scored in the last 180 minutes of qualifying football while defeating Italy and Liechtenstein: a statement of power. Or at the fact that the penultimate World Champions might reach Russia as Europe's leading scorers. Indeed, La Roja haven't hit...

How Spain thrashed Italy, Isco's future, placing blame for Barca's bad summer

The FC crew hail Isco as one of the leaders of a Spanish revival that could make them a 2018 World Cup favourite.

Spain defeating Italy 3-0 at the Bernabeu on Saturday was not the surprise. It was the extent of the demolition.

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that the old Catenaccio, defend-and-counter stereotype hasn't really applied to the Azzurri for a long time. Still, conceding three goals like that (and it could have been more) while being methodically wiped off the pitch is still jarring. It does not -- and should not -- happen to big teams.

Blame it on the coming together of...