Barely seven years after Spain won the FIFA World Cup, they had dropped below the top 10 in FIFA ranking and are probably looking up to a means to get back to the glory which they achieved some years back. Sport Intelligence looks at some hidden facts about Spain’s conquer of the World and bring it to their readers.
- Xavi Hernandez covered a distance of 80 kilometres during the tournament, which is equal to a distance of two marathons in athletics.
- 75 per cent of the goals Spain had were either scored or assisted by David Villa. A record for a World Cup-winning side which was held since 1962. El Guaje is followed by Diego Maradona (71 per cent of Argentina’s in 1986), Romario (64 per cent of Brazil’s in 1994), Paolo Rossi (58 per cent of Italy’s in 1982) and Pele (53 per cent of Brazil’s in 1970).
- Three uncapped players made it to the Spanish national team that won the title: Victor Valdes, Javi Martinez and Pedro. The seven men cut from Spain’s provisional squad were David De Gea, Diego Lopez, Cesar Azpilicueta, Marcos Senna, Santi Cazorla, Dani Guiza and Alvaro Negredo.
- Only three players scored for Spain at the South Africa 2010, No5 Puyol (1), No6 Iniesta (2) and No7 Villa (5). It was a record low for a World Cup-winning side compared to a record ten players that scored for Italy at Germany 2006.
- Two World Cups is what Iker Casillas is the only goalkeeper to save penalties in (excluding shoot-outs). ‘ Iker Casillas who denied Republic of Ireland’s Ian Harte at Korea/Japan 2002, dived south-west to catch the effort of Paraguay’s Oscar Cardoza with deadlock intact in their quarter-final. Casillas later revealed Pepe Reina, one of his deputies, had told him where Cardozo would put the ball.
- Spain is the only team that lost its first game and go ahead to win a World Cup. Of the other three sides to have lifted the Trophy having lost a match, two of them – West Germany in 1974 and Argentina in ’78 – did so in their final group outing, when qualification to the knockout phase was already secured.
- Only two pre-tournament favourites have won the World Cup since odds were publicised ahead of the 1978 event – Brazil, who were joint-favourites with Germany in 1994, and Spain in 2010. The other pre-tournament favourites were West Germany in 1978 (reached the second round), Brazil in 1982 (second round), Brazil in 1986 (quarter-finals), Italy in 1990 (semi-finals), Germany in 1994 (quarter-finals), Brazil in 1998 (Final), Argentina in 2002 (group stage), Brazil in 2006 (quarter-finals), and Brazil in 2014 (semi-finals).