Football fans were well and truly spoilt this summer with the European Championships - the 24-team tournament eventually and surprisingly won by Portugal and watched by a global TV audience of millions. Fortunately, the international football calendar sees little downtime and the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup is well underway.
In actual fact, qualifying started some time ago - although European nations only entered the action during the first week of September, around the globe the competition is in full swing. The qualifying campaign includes 209 teams incorporated in six different confederations and playing a grand total of 851 matches for the honour of becoming one of the 32 nations who will compete at the finals in 2018. Of course, hosts Russia have a guaranteed
Spain, the World Cup holders, went out of the World Cup on Wednesday in as the spirit of the Chilean miners proved more powerful than the £500,000 bonus promised to Spanish players for winning the World Cup.
The video below, featuring the Chilean miners, may have played a role in motivating the Chilean footballers to beat the champions 2-0, and is also persuading many to adopt Chile as their second team:
Chile v Spain match report
Spain v Chile stats
It is hard to believe, but Spain could effectively go out of the World Cup if they lose this game against Chile.
However, the stats arenít in Chile's favour:
Chile have failed to beat Spain in their 10 previous matches (W0 D2 L8).In 1950 Spain beat Chile in the World Cup 2-0 - also in the Maracan„Spain won the 2010 World Cup despite losing their opening game (against Switzerland.)Spain's 1-5 defeat to the Netherlands was the heaviest margin of defeat by a reigning World Cup champion.Spain havenít lost back-to-back internationals since 2006 (3-2 v Northern Ireland and 2-0 v Sweden). The 5-1 defeat to the Netherlands was the first time Spain had conceded 5 goals since losing 6-2 to
Spain's performance against the Netherlands will probably go down in history as their most humiliating ever.
Spain have however conceded 5 goals or more on a number of occasions:
England 7 v 1 Spain 09 December 1931 (International)
Spain 4 v 5 Austria 19 January 1936 (International)
Brazil 6 v 1 Spain 13 July 1950 (FIFA World Cup)
Spain 2 v 6 Scotland 13 June 1963 (International)
Spain 1 v 5 Netherlands 13 June 2014 (FIFA World Cup)
Spain v Netherlands
This is a rematch of the 2010 final & the 1st time finalists from the previous tournament have met in their 1st game
16 of Spain's 23 players were in the 2010 squad - only 7 of the Dutch.
Spain lost their opening game of the 2010 World Cup to Switzerland becoming the first team to lift the trophy after losing their 1st gameVicente Del Bosque has only lost 1 of his 25 World Cup games as Spain head-coach, including qualifiers (W22 D2).Spain have won their last 6 World Cup games - their last 4 were all 1-0 wins.In 2010, Spain were the lowest-scoring winners of a World Cup finals, scoring just 8 goals in 7 matches.
Updated 13th June 2014 at 07:50 PM by 11v11
Spainís manager Vicente Del Bosque has announced the World Cup holderís squad for the 2014 World Cup.
Del Bosque has taken a punt on Diego Costa despite a muscle injury to the strikerís right thigh. Although Spain have a marvellous attacking midfield, they will hope the Brazilian-born Atletico Madrid player will recover to start ahead of Fernando Torres and David Villa.
The Spanish World Cup roster includes 14 Spanish-based players, A magnificent seven play for Barcelona, including Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets. Six of the players are based in England, 2 in Italy and one in Germany.
Iker Casillas is both first-choice goalkeeper and captain of a side which must again be amongst the favorites to lift the trophy.
Full Squad (Roster):
Leaping out from the deluge of post Euro opinion are two basic questions which seem to be swamped by all the expert, and not so expert, punditry. From a national perspective, why did England not do better? Let`s get the easy one out of the way, answer, because England were not good enough, deeper analysis and dissection for a later time. The second and more pleasant question is, why did Spain win. Again that`s quite an easy one, because they were the best team.
Why were Spain the best team, basically because they lifted the trophy and in the record books for all time they will be listed as winners, as they will be for the 2010 World Cup and the 2008 European Championships. And therein lies the rub as Will Shakespeare wrote. You see we keep hearing and reading phrases like