Spain is another one of those obvious medal favorites in this competition as they enter it as reigning Paralympic bronze medalist. With Argentina, Germany and South Korea in their group, there is no real risk of them going out before their time like their sighted counterparts who completely blew it at the FIFA men’s World Cup in Brazil earlier this year. I love both Spain and Argentina which may color my thinking a little bit, but at the end of the day, these two have all the pieces to emerge victorious. France can’t be counted as spoiling Argentine and Spanish dreams but I think these two teams have had more international top level experience in the past year to minimize the French threat just a little bit. The major issue for Spain is if they finish second, there is every chance they’ll meet Brazil. This would be a very bad thing for their future in their competition.
Spain has not been hugely busy since the London Paralympics. Early in 2014, they finished second in a French hosted four nation tournament that included France, Argentina and Japan. They beat Japan 3 – 0. Argentina absolutely killed them 4 – 0. This was minimized by defeating reigning silver medalists France 4 – 0. At the 2013 European Championships, Spain defeated Russia 2 – 0, drew 1 – 1 with Greece. and drew 0 – 0 with France in group play. Spain beat Germany by a score of 2 – 0 in the semi-finals. They then went on to beat France 1 – 0 off a Vicente Aguilar Carmona goal.
Some of the Spanish players to watch for are José Luis Giera, Adolfo Acosta and Youssef El Rainhold. All scored for the team at the French tournament. If Antonio Martín Gaitán is injury free and playing, he has a history of greatness and can really elevate the team. He helped his Italian club team Asd Roma 2000 win their league championship in July of this year by scoring clutch goals. Vicente Aguilar Carmona is another player to watch. The 44 year old Valencian scored a key goal for the team to give them the European title in 2013.