Manchester City midfielder Rodri has revealed that he believes Spain to be the best team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, ahead of the likes of tournament favourites Brazil, France and “maybe England”.
You can only assume Argentina would have been mentioned in the discussion had they not suffered one of the most shocking defeats – a 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia – in the history of football on Tuesday.
In an interview with The Guardian, Rodri explained the reasoning behind his decision, and it all comes down to the culture and philosophy of the Spanish national team.
“When you look at it from the point of view of the players, [there’s] France, England: the market value they have is incredible but honestly at a collective level I think we’re the best national team, and that’s our trump card,” Rodri explained.
Spain take on Costa Rica in the opening fixture of Group E, with Germany and Japan also making up what could prove to be a tricky draw.
Rodri, however, is confident in his national team’s holistic approach, stating that it doesn’t matter who Spain face – their gameplan will always remain the same.
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“We always want to take the weight of the game from the start, we want the ball, we want to play high, all those things we always do,” Rodri said of Luis Enrique’s tactical approach, a carbon copy of Spain team’s from tournaments past.
“When you see the mechanism in our team, the structure, when you see how every player is involved defensively and offensively, the way we understand the game, what the manager wants and how that idea is taken on to the pitch, then in my opinion we’re the best national team. “
“I’m not saying that in terms of the individual players but I think the collective is the most important thing – that was always the case – and that’s what Spain has.”
Spain will certainly be hoping to better their performance at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, when they were knocked out on penalties at the round of 16 stage by the tournament’s hosts.
Given all the young talent at Luis Enrique’s disposal, ably led by savvy veteran Sergio Busquets in midfield, a deep run into this year’s competition Qatar certainly seems possible, if not probable.