Continued from page 1

Added del Bosque: “We know that with space Villa is one of the best strikers in the world.”

Despite a tough group stage Spain is still a heavy favorite heading to Brazil. The Spaniards will face the Netherlands, Chile and Australia in the group stage on their way to the round of 16. Their first game will be against the Dutch, who they faced in the World Cup final four years ago in South Africa.

While the Netherlands will undoubtedly be their greatest challenge, the Spaniards cannot expect to cruise over the others in their group.

It will be critical for Spain to stay on top of its group because the second-place team will likely face host nation Brazil in the round of 16.

The final look at the World Cup favorites before they board the plane to South America revealed that they need to learn how to create offense if they expect to repeat as champions. But when it comes to defense and controlling the flow of a game, they are among the best in the world.

“We’re very optimistic ahead of the World Cup,” said del Bosque. “We’re meeting our expectations after training and friendlies. We always want to dictate the pace of the game and find space. If we keep possession of the ball we will be successful.”