Spain will look to forget its FIFA World Cup 2018 nightmare when it enters its 16th appearance in the World Cup finals in Qatar.
The team suffered a comedy of errors just before the last edition of the tournament when its head coach Julien Lopetegui was relieved of his services days before the World Cup.
This time, Luis Enrique, having taken charge of the side permanently since 2019, has impressed with La Furia Roja, starting with a win in his first match in-charge to steering it to the top of the UEFA Qualifying group for Qatar 2022.
With the squad announcement expected this week, which players are expected to be in and out for the Qatar World Cup?
No De Gea in goal?
The Manchester United No. 1 has fallen in the pecking order since his unimpressive performance in the 2018 World Cup and Unai Simon – who has been a regular under Enrique – is expected to make the cut.
It will be interesting to see if De Gea makes the cut for the World Cup.
Roberto Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion) and David Raya (Brentford), who have both impressed in the Premier League are expected to make it to the 26-member squad as well.
A chance to shine for the post-2010 era
The defence and the midfield of Spain in the 2018 World Cup had a major chunk from the team that had won the World Cup in 2010 and two European Championships in 2008 and 2012.
Players like Andres Iniesta, David Silva (midfielders) and Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pique (defenders) were some of the most prominent names – all of whom are either retired or past their prime.
This would give chance to shine youngsters who have impressed in the Nations League and the domestic leagues – players such as Pedri, Gavi and Eric Garcia.
In attack too, Alvaro Morata – donning the No. 9 jersey in a post-David Villa-era is expected to be the go-to man for goals in Qatar.
Expected 26-man squad:
Goalkeepers: Unai Simon, Roberto Sanchez, David Raya
Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Pau Torres, Eric Garcia, Jose Gaya, Dani Carvajal, Jordi Alba, Aymeric Laporte, Marcos Alonso, Sergio Ramos
Midfielders: Thiago Alacantara, Sergio Busquets, Marcos Llorente, Pedri, Rodri, Koke, Gavi, Pablo Fornals, Carlos Soler
Forwards: Alvaro Morata, Ferran Torres, Pablo Sarabia, Mikel Oyarzabal, Ansu Fati