Spain have qualified for the sixth consecutive time to the European Championship, they are also the reigning champions, wining the Euro 2008 and 2012. In the group stage they will face Croatia, Czech Republic and Turkey.
Brief History at the Euros
Spain is one of the most successful teams in the history of the European Championships.
Their first participation dates back to 1964, when they had the chance to play on home soil. In the semi-final of the competition Spain played against Hungary and the home team won 2-1 after extra time and advanced to the final where they had to face the Soviet Union.
In the final Spain opened the score sheet early after just 6 minutes but the Soviets equalized after just two minutes. With 6 minutes to go until the 90 minutes, Spain scored again and after the final whitle became Champions of Europe for the first time (at their first ever participation).
Spain Euro 1976 winner
Spain didn't qualify for the next three editions of the Euro final tournaments. In 1980 they qualified and were placed in a group with Belgium, Italy and England. It was a dissappointing tournament for them as they finished fourth drawing the first game against Italy 0-0 and then losing the last two games with the same score 2-1.
In 1984 they had a more successful tourmanent, they finished first in their group with Portugal, West Germany and Romania. In the semi-final they faced Denmark and at the game finished 0-0 and penalty shoot-out was needed to decide the finalists. In the final they played against the home side France and they lost 2-0.
In 1988 Spain was eliminated in the group stage of the competition finishin third om their group behind West Germany and Italy. They won the first game against Denmark 3-2 but then they lost to Italy 1-0 an then to West Germany 2-0.
After failing to qaulify to the 1992 European Championship, Spain reached the quarter-finals of the competition in 1996 and 2000 but they were eliminated in 1996 by the home side England after a penalty shoot-out and in 2000 they lost against the eventual Euro winners France 2-1.
In 2004 the Spanish team was eliminated in the group stage of the tournament, finishin third in a group with home side Portugal, eventual Euro winners Greece and Russia. They have accumulated 4 points but it wasn't enough.
Then came the most successful period in Spain's history, winning two consecutive final-tourmanents (2008 and 2012) something that was not done before.
In 2008 they won all three games in the group stage (4-1 with Russia, 2-1 with Sweden and 2-1 with Greece), in the quarter-final they had a tough game against Italy, a game which they won on penalties (4-2), in the semi-final they won against Russia 3-0 and in the final they won against Germany 1-0.
Spain Euro 2008 winner
In 2012 they finished again first in their group with Italy, Croatia and Republic of Ireland (1-1 with Italy, 4-0 with Ireland and 1-0 with Croatia). In the quarter-final they won against France 2-0, then in the semi-final Spain won after penalty shoot-out 4-0 (the game finished 0-0). In the final Spain played remarkably, the game finished 4-0 and Spain became the first team to defend their title.
Spain road to Euro 2016
Spain was part of group C along with Slovakia, Ukraine, Belarus, Luxembourg and Macedonia. They finished first place five points ahead of second place Slovakia.
Thanks to their first-placed finishing they achieved automatic qualification. They finished with 27 points winning nine games and losing one.
The complete table:
The results obtained by Spain:
||5 - 1||Macedonia
||2 - 1||Spain
||0 - 4||Spain
||3 - 0||Belarus
||1 - 0||Ukraine
||0 - 1||Spain
||2 - 0||Slovakia
||0 - 1||Spain
||4 - 0||Luxembourg
||0 - 1||Spain
The first place meant that Spain qualified automatically to the final touranent held in France.
Spain Euro 2016 squad and group
(Confirmed 23-man squad)
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Porto), David De Gea (Manchester United), Sergio Rico (Sevilla)
Defenders: Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Hector Bellerin(Arsenal), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Marc Bartra (Barcelona), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Mikel San Jose (Athletic Bilbao), Juanfran (Atletico Madrid).
Midfielders: Bruno (Villarreal), Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Koke (Atletico Madrid), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), David Silva (Man City), Pedro (Chelsea), Cesc Fabregas (Chelsea)
Forwards: Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Bilbao), Nolito (Celta Vigo), Alvaro Morata (Juventus), Lucas Vasquez (Real Madrid)
Spain will play against Czech Republic in the first round, the last times the two teams met were in the 2011 in the Euro 2012 qualifiers and Spain won both games 1-2 and 0-2.
The second game will be against Turkey. The last time the two teams met was in 2009 in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers Spain winning both games 1-0 and 2-1.
Their third game will be with Croatia. The last time the two teams met was in 2012 at the European Championship, Spain won 1-0.
Spain All Time Records
The top 5 players with the most appearances:
The top 5 players with the most goals: