Spain takes on Costa Rica in its first game of the FIFA World Cup 2022 on Wednesday at 9.30 pm IST in the Al Thumama stadium in Doha, Qatar. The 2010 World champions are placed in Group E, one of the tougher groups, with 2014 champions Germany also featuring in it and are looking forward to quenching their title drought since 2012 UEFA Euro cup triumph.

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Strengths: Luis Enrique being at the helm of affairs as the coach is bound to do Spain a world of good as the former Spain professional has had tremendous success as a coach and in his brief stint as the Spanish coach, has reinvigorated the team. Spain has an enviable pool of young players, both as midfielders and attackers.  While talented midfielders Pedri and Gavi will play an important role, forwards Ansu Fati, Pablo Sarabia and Ferrano Torres form a fearsome combo.

Weaknesses: Spain was indisputably the World’s strongest team from 2008-12 when they won the World cup as well as 2 Euro cups. However, Sergio Busquets is the only survivor in the current team from the 2010 squad and the lack of experience can be a fatal detriment. While Spain still sticks to the possession theory that worked wonders for the team earlier, the success level has dropped substantially. How Spain uses Busquets’ experience will play a crucial role in its campaign.

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Opportunities: Spain will look forward to gaining good experience by playing in a relatively tougher group and will hope that they get enough exposure before the knock-outs begin. It will be the right platform for rising stars like Ansu Fati, Pedri and Ferrano Torres to showcase their skills and shine in a major tournament.

Threats: While playing in a tough group is a good opportunity, it also acts as a threat as it could mean disqualification in case of a sub-optimal performance. With a strong side such as Germany and Asia’s consistent performers Japan stationed in the same group, Spain will need to tread cautiously. Also, Spain will need to improve on their poor penalty record in knock-out matches of important tournaments.