La Roja lifted the trophy in 2010.
There is just over a week left until the start of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Spain are among the favorites for the World Cup with their squad full of superstars and talent. La Roja has the talent and experience to do well at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. And the transformation of Luis Enrique’s Spain is almost complete.
Spain’s early exits from the 2014 World Cup (group stage) and from the 2018 edition in Russia showed how difficult it was to progress from their “golden generation”. However, given the squad coach Enrique has chosen for the World Cup, Spain should be a serious contender.
Based on last year’s performances in World Cup qualifiers and friendlies, the players (below) should be on the World Cup shortlist. But let’s take a look at why these 10 players are missing from Spain’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad.
- Gerard Moreno
Two Villarreal players have been named in Spain’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad, but Gerard Moreno has been left out. Luis Enrique has picked pau Torres and Yeremy Pino to compete in Qatar as predicted, but Gerard is a surprise absentee.
The striker has been a regular for Luis Enrique in recent years, scoring five goals in 17 games for La Roja. But at 30, his career looks set to end with no World Cup experience.
- Thiago Alcantara
Thiago Alcantara is one of the main stars left out of Spain’s 2022 World Cup squad. Luis Enrique has chosen a youthful squad that includes Pedri and Gavi, while striker Ansu Fati will compete in his first major competition.
Thiago was one of Liverpool’s best players during a poor season, but he will not play in Qatar.
- David de Gea
De Gea has not played for the Spanish national team since the 1-0 loss to Ukraine in the 2020 Nations League. Since then, the Manchester United goalkeeper has been sidelined for the entire 2021 season.
This year, however, De Gea’s status has fallen even further. He failed to make the national team throughout the year as Spain prepared for the World Cup in Qatar. The long-serving United goalkeeper has had a tough season with the Reds underperforming.
- Sergio Canales
Canales assisted Spain’s under-17 team to victory at the 2008 UEFA European Championship in Turkey. He made his under-21 debut at the age of 19, scoring twice in his first two matches.
Canales was then named in the squad for the 2009 European Under-19 Championship. He was called up to the senior squad on 15 March 2019 for two UEFA Euro 2020 qualifiers against Norway and Malta. The 31-year-old made his debut eight days later, coming on as a 74th-minute substitute for Dani Ceballos in Spain’s 2-1 win over Norway.
- Nacho Fernandez
Nacho made his debut for Spain at under-17, under-19 and under-21 levels before being called up to the senior squad for a friendly against Switzerland on 2 September 2013 in place of the injured Inigo Martnez. He made his debut by replacing Real Madrid team-mate Sergio Ramos early in the second half in a 2–2 draw against Chile.
He was part of Spain’s final squad at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. On 15 June, he scored his first goal for Spain in a group stage match against Portugal in a 3–3 draw. Unfortunately, he was left out of Spain’s 2022 FIFA World Cup squad.
- Sergio Ramos
Ramos fell out of favor with Enrique and missed last year’s European Championship after an injury-plagued season. However, he has been a key part of PSG’s defense this season. However, it seems that the 36-year-old player might not play another World Cup in his career.
When he made his debut for Spain at the age of 18 years and 361 days, Ramos was then the youngest player to play for Spain. However, this record was surpassed a year later by Cesc Fabregas. During the 2004 U-19 Euro, he started four of their five matches as they won their second European U-19 Championship. Ramos scored his first goal in a 6–0 rout of San Marino in a 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifier.
- Iago Aspas
Aspas was named in the 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. He made his tournament debut on 15 June 2018, replacing Diego Costa in Spain’s 3–3 draw against Portugal. Ten days later, he scored a last minute equalizer to help his team draw 2–2 with Morocco. Thanks to the draw, Spain progressed to the knockout stage as group winners.
But things turned sour as Aspas was one of two Spanish players to miss in the penalty shootout against Russia. Spain lost the run-in 3-4 and crashed out of the last 16. With Enrique picking Ferran Torres and Ansa Fatih ahead of him, Aspas will not be part of Spain’s World Cup squad.
- Alejandro Balde
Born in Barcelona to Guinean and Dominican parents, Alejandro Balde joined Barca as an eight-year-old after coming into his own at Espanyol. He’s from the 2003 generation, though he’s always played a year or two older. Balde won the league at U-10 A, B and C, U-12 A and C, U-14 A and B and A-16 A and B levels. He now plays for Barca B rather than the U-19B team.
Balde also represented Spain in the under-20 category but did not make the World Cup squad with first-choice defender Jordi Alaba Enrique.
- Isco Alarcon
On 15 November 2014, Isco scored his first international goal for Spain in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier against Belarus, resulting in a 3–0 win.
Isco scored his first hat-trick for Spain on 27 March 2018 in a 6–1 friendly win over Argentina. He was named in Spain’s final squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Isco scored his only goal in the last group stage encounter against Morocco, which ended in a 2-2 draw.
His goal helped the team advance to the second round as group winners. Isco was left out of Spain’s 26-man squad for UEFA Euro 2020 in May 2021. And now he has failed to make the 2022 World Cup squad.
- Inigo Martinez
Martinez made his senior debut on 14 August 2013 in a 2–0 friendly win over Ecuador. Between September 2018 and March 2021, he played eleven matches, including seven starts. However, he was not included in Luis Enrique’s 24-man squad for the UEFA Euro 2020 tournament. Inigo stated that he was not completely satisfied with his physical condition after missing a number of club matches in the season and that an agreement had been reached between himself, the national team and the club.
Martnez scored his first international goal in the UEFA Nations League on 5 June 2022, with a last minute header in a 2–2 draw away to the Czech Republic. However, he was not named in Spain’s World Cup squad.