Spanish international defender Cesar Azpilicueta said that his country, the former world champion, wishes to forget what it was subjected to during the FIFA World Cups in 2014 and 2016, at a time when it has the opportunity to launch with full force again with a new squad that includes many promising young players.
Spain dominated world football between 2008 and 2012 when it won the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2008 and 2012 European Championships, but it bid farewell to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the group stage and was eliminated in the round of 16 four years later in Russia.
Veteran players who won the World Cup in 2010 left the team after that, except for midfielder Sergio Busquets, while coach Luis Enrique chose 14 players, each of whom is 25 years old or younger.
Azpilicueta, who is participating in the World Cup for the third time, told reporters before his team’s first match in the finals against Costa Rica next Wednesday in Group E: The last two experiences were certainly not the best for us. We have a new opportunity with a young team. The biggest difference from the last two editions of the World Cup is the presence of only Busquets from the team that won the title. We have to unite.. The idea of football is getting more competitive every day, and we hope to achieve better results than the last experiences.
Azpilicueta praised the confidence of Barcelona’s young midfielder Gavi (18 years), who helped his country lead their group in the European League, as well as Ansu Fati (20 years), and said that the latter could be a headache for the defenders of the competing teams.
Azpilicueta added: Fati adds a lot to the team. He is a young man at the beginning of his career, but he is nonetheless daring. He looks for gaps and creates opportunities. Of course we have players who are very versatile and Ansu can be very important. Currently doing very well.
Azpilicueta, 33, won all possible titles with his Premier League club Chelsea and said winning a world title with Spain would be the best end to his career.
He said about that: I started my career with the Spain national team in 2013 in Qatar against Uruguay, so it will be wonderful to win the World Cup here with this huge group. In this tournament we don’t have to make any mistakes. So we have to start well. Of course, I would like to add the prize of this tournament to my trophy cabinet.
In the group stage, Spain will also meet Germany and Japan.