Spain Euro 2024 preview

spain euro 2024 preview

Spain head to Euro 2024 targeting their fourth triumph in the competition. They do so as the current UEFA Nations League holders but also on the back of a number of disappointing showings at recent major tournaments. Our Spain Euro 2024 preview looks at how Luis de la Fuente’s side may line up in Germany and whether they’ve got what it takes to go all the way.

Spain at the Euros – Previous Results

YearWinsDrawsDefeatsOutcome
1964200Champions
1980012Group stage
1984131Runners up
1988102Group stage
1996130Quarter-finals
2000202Quarter-finals
2004111Group stage
2008510Champions
2012420Champions
2016202Last 16
2020240Semi-finals

This will be the 12th time Spain have taken part in the UEFA European Championship Finals and their overall record is a pretty good one. Winners in 1964, 2008 and 2012, La Roja have been one of the dominant forces on the European stage, most notably during their golden era which culminated with Vicente del Bosque’s side hammering Italy 4-0 in the Final 12 years ago.

Excluding penalties, Spain have only lost two matches at the Euros in the last 20 years, with both of those defeats coming at Euro 2016. They’ve not failed to make it out of the group since Euro 2004 in Portugal.

Spain Euro 2024 squad

Goalkeepers

  • Unai Simon, Athletic Club
  • David Raya, Arsenal
  • Alex Remiro, Real Sociedad

Defence

  • Dani Carvajal, Real Madrid
  • Robin Le Normand, Real Sociedad
  • Dani Vivian, Athletic Club
  • Alex Grimaldo, Bayer Leverkusen
  • Jesus Navas, Sevilla
  • Marc Cucurella, Chelsea
  • Aymeric Laporte, Al Nassr
  • Nacho, Real Madrid

Midfield

  • Rodri, Manchester City
  • Mikel Merino, Real Sociedad
  • Fabian Ruiz, PSG
  • Fermin Lopez, Barcelona
  • Alex Baena, Villarreal
  • Martin Zubimendi, Real Sociedad
  • Pedri, Barcelona
  • Dani Olmo, RB Leipzig

Forwards

  • Alvaro Morata, Atletico Madrid
  • Lamine Yamal, Barcelona
  • Ayoze Perez, Real Betis
  • Ferran Torres, Barcelona
  • Nico Williams, Athletic Club
  • Mikel Oyarzabal, Real Sociedad
  • Joselu, Real Madrid

Luis de la Fuente has named a 26-man squad for the tournament with Marcos Llorente, Pau Cubarsi and Aleix Garcia the unfortunate trio to miss out having been named in the provisional squad.

It’s a squad that contains a few surprises with Ayoze Perez’s late season form at Real Betis booking his ticket to Germany. The 30 year old scored on debut in last week’s friendly win over Andorra.

Pedri
Pedri impressed in the warm-up games | Photo credit: depositphotos.com

Dani Vivian’s inclusion ahead of Barcelona youngster Cubarsi has also raised some eyebrows and is reward for the strong season he’s had in central defence for Copa del Rey winners Athletic Club. Meanwhile 21 year old Fermin Lopez also makes the squad having enjoyed a breakthrough season at Barcelona.

The overall consensus seems to be that this is not a vintage Spanish squad, at least not by the impossibly high standards that were set between 2008 and 2012. 

There are only three players from Real Madrid with Dani Carvajal the only one of those who is an undisputed starter for Los Blancos. Pedri and Lamine Yamal are among four from Barcelona in the squad while Real Sociedad are the club to have contributed the most players with five.

Spain Euro 2024 predicted lineup

spain euro 2024 predicted xi

As has tended to be the case during the gradual decline following the golden era, there are as many questions as answers when it comes to the matter of Spain’s best eleven.

There is little doubt about the goalkeeper which will almost certainly be Unai Simon throughout the competition. He has endured mixed fortunes in recent tournaments, but Luis de la Fuente has followed Luis Enrique’s lead in determining that he is the best option between the sticks with David Raya likely to be his deputy.

spain euro 2024 preview
Unai Simon will be the Spain number one in Germany | Photo credit: depositphotos.com

Dani Carvajal looks locked in at right back after a strong season for European champions Real Madrid. 

Things are a bit more interesting at left back where Alex Grimaldo looked the outstanding option after a brilliant campaign for Bayer Leverkusen that saw him register 10 goals and 13 assists in the Bundesliga. He has only won four caps for the national team though and Marc Cucurella featured just as prominently in the warm-up games which suggests we may see these two rotate in and out throughout the tournament.

Central defence does look like one potential area of weakness for Spain. There are doubts about Aymeric Laporte’s level after a season in Saudi Arabia but he was the preferred partner for Real Sociedad’s Robin Le Normand during qualifying meaning Spain may head into a major tournament with two centre-backs that were actually born in France. It was Nacho who started the final warm-up game against Northern Ireland though and he’ll be hoping that his late season form with Real Madrid has been enough to force his way into the team.

Rodri Hernandez is Spain’s best player and is a guaranteed starter at the base of midfield. Alongside him, it feels like a straight fight between Fabian Ruiz and Mikel Merino for one place and we could see the two chop and change over the next few weeks with Ruiz the more likely to start the tournament.

Pedri would ordinarily also be considered a guaranteed pick but doubts over his form and fitness levels could serve up an opportunity for Dani Olmo to operate in the number 10 role at times. That’s one selection battle to keep an eye on as the tournament progresses, but Pedri was impressive in the pre-tournament friendlies and if he can carry that form into the Euros, he’ll be tough to dislodge.

On the right flank, 16 year old Lamine Yamal looks certain to start the opening game against Croatia and be a mainstay for Spain in Germany after some electric displays for club and country over the past twelve months.

Spain euro 2024 predicted lineup
Lamine Yamal could be one of the big young stars of Euro 2024 | Photo credit: depositphotos.com

Nico Williams faces slightly more competition for his spot, with Olmo also on option out wide, but the Athletic man looks the obvious initial pick on the left. The presence of Williams and Lamine Yamal should in theory help Spain make a genuine shift away from the predictable, possession-based football that has been thwarted by the likes of Morocco and Russia in embarrassing exits at recent tournaments.

Up front, much hinges on the form of Alvaro Morata. The Spain skipper hit a real purple patch during the first half of the 2023/24 season for Atletico Madrid but has been badly out of sorts since firing a hat-trick against Girona in early January, scoring just two goals in his last 20 club appearances.

Morata, the most capped player in the squad, may still start the group phase in the hope that something will click into place. However if he continues to misfire, Mikel Oyarzabal, who scored a hat-trick in the warm-up win over Andorra, is perhaps the most likely alternative.

Joselu is another option but the 34 year old is more likely to be used as an impact sub, a role he’s played well for Real Madrid this season. Ferran Torres also boasts a pretty healthy international scoring record of 19 goals in 41 Spain appearances but heads into the Euros on the back of little game-time for his club.

How far can La Roja go in Germany?

Despite certain limitations and areas of concern, Spain still have one of the most talented squads at Euro 2024. A repeat of their run to the semi-finals three years ago would mostly be viewed as a success, but they may need the exciting Lamine Yamal to truly explode if they’re to have a genuine shot of going all the way.

Group stage fixtures

  • June 15th – Spain vs Croatia (Berlin)
  • June 20th – Spain vs Italy (Gelsenkirchen)
  • June 24th – Spain vs Albania (Dusseldorf)

Spain have landed in a tough Group B and kick off with tricky games against familiar foes Croatia and Italy who they met at Euro 2020. La Roja were 5-3 winners over the Croats in the Last 16 of that tournament before falling at the penultimate hurdle against eventual winners Italy on penalties.

Should all go wrong on matchdays one and two, they still have a fixture against group outsiders Albania which will serve up a good opportunity to put things right in a tournament where three points may even be enough to secure progress with four of the best 3rd placed teams progressing into the knockout stage.

Possible routes to the Final

Luis de la Fuente’s side start their campaign in Berlin and they’ll be dreaming of making it back there for the Final on July 14th.

The ideal path for Spain would be to top Group B which would set up a Last 16 tie in Cologne against a 3rd placed team from another group. However that route may also put them on collision course with Germany assuming the hosts top Group A and win their Last 16 match with the potential for a Spain-Germany quarter-final in Stuttgart.

That route could see Spain progress into a semi-final in Munich on July 9th with Portugal the team most likely to provide the opposition, although clearly there’s a lot of football that needs to be played before we can start talking about a repeat of the Iberian derby semi-final from Euro 2012.

spain euro 2024 preview
Spain scored five against Andorra and Northern Ireland last week | Photo credit: depositphotos.com

With Italy and Croatia for company, Spain are perhaps just as likely to finish 2nd as they are top of Group B. Should that be the case, they’d face the runners-up from Group A in their first knockout game in Berlin on June 29th. That’s likely to be one of Hungary, Switzerland or Scotland, unless one of those sides can outfox the Germans to top the group.

Win that and a quarter-final against the winners of Group C would be the most likely outcome which could mean a clash against tournament favourites England in Dusseldorf. The winners of that match would most likely face the winners of either Group D or Group E in the last four, potentially Belgium or France.

Should Spain finish as one of the best four 3rd placed teams, they can expect a much tougher Last 16 tie. Depending on various factors, they’d either face the winners of Group F (Portugal’s group) in Frankfurt or the winners of Group E (Belgium’s group) in Munich.

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About Mark Sochon 2075 Articles
Mark is a freelance writer based in Madrid. He has been writing about Spanish football since 2014 and regularly attends and covers matches across Spain. His work has also been published by various newspapers and websites including These Football Times, World Soccer and Guardian Sport. Available for freelance work: marksochon (at) hotmail.co.uk