Twenty debutants in a World Cup and only one survivor from South Africa in search of the second star


The Spanish football team will present itself at the Qatar World Cup with up to twenty players debuting in the final phase of a World Cup, with one of the youngest average ages of the Asian event and with only one survivor of the greatest feat in its history , the title of South Africa 2010.

Only Barça players Sergio Busquets (South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018) and Jordi Alba (Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018), Real Madrid players Dani Carvajal (Russia 2018) and Marco Asensio (Russia 2018), Chelsea winger César Azpilicueta (Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018) and Atlético de Madrid midfielder Koke Resurrection (Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018) know what it’s like to play in a World Cup final phase.

On the other hand, up to 20 men will debut: Unai Simón, Robert Sánchez, David Raya, Eric García, Hugo Guillamón, Pau Torres, Aymeric Laporte, José Luis Gayà, Rodri, Gavi, Carlos Soler, Marcos Llorente, Pedri, Ferran Torres, Nico Williams, Yeremy Pino, Álvaro Morata, Pablo Sarabia, Dani Olmo and Ansu Fati.

However, Luis Enrique maintains the bulk of the group he trusted for last year’s European Championship, where 17 of those called up for Qatar were already. They are joined by goalkeeper David Raya, defender Hugo Guillamón, midfielders Gavi, Carlos Soler and Marcos Llorente, and strikers Ansu Fati, Nico Williams, Marco Asensio and Yeremy Pino. Except for the Balearic striker, all of them will debut in a major international tournament.


Twelve years have passed since the team led by Vicente del Bosque sewed their first star at Soccer City to their chest. Now, only one man survives from that historic squad who, after becoming European champion at the Ernst Happel in Vienna in 2008, achieved the feat of lifting the World Cup for Spain for the first time in South Africa 2010: Sergio Busquets.

At 34 years old, the Barça midfielder is one of the eleven footballers of that historical milestone who are still active. Despite seeing his minutes reduced in the Catalan team, he continues to be one of Luis Enrique’s regulars, as he was Vicente del Bosque, and he is the third Spaniard with the most caps (139), only behind Sergio Ramos (180). ) and Iker Casillas (167).

In addition, he will enter the select club of players with at least four World Cups, to which only six Spanish internationals belong. Fernando Hierro (Italy 1990, United States 1994, France 1998 and Korea and Japan 2002), Andoni Zubizarreta (Mexico 1986, Italy 1990, United States 1994 and France 1998), Iker Casillas (Korea and Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014), Xavi Hernández (Korea and Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014), Andrés Iniesta (Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018) and Sergio Ramos (Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018).

From the last great success of ‘la Roja’, the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine 2012, Jordi Alba also resists, who despite not becoming a permanent fixture with the Spaniard initially due to alleged tensions with the coach and not being a permanent fixture at FC Barcelona, he earned his spot.


In addition, the Spanish team has lowered the average age of the group compared to the last European Championship; If in the atypical summer of 2021 Luis Enrique’s men averaged an average of 26.5 years, in Qatar this will be 25.6 years, one of the lowest in the entire tournament.

All this thanks to the youth of the eight Under-23 footballers who make up the list, such as Eric García (21), Hugo Guillamón (22), Gavi (18), Pedri (19), Nico Williams (20), Ferran Torres (22), Yeremy Pino (20) or Ansu Fati (20).

Among them, Pablo Páez Gavira, ‘Gavi’, will become the youngest Spaniard to play in a World Cup. The Sevillian, now 18 years and 98 days old, will break the record held by Cesc Fàbregas, who made his debut in Germany in 2006 aged 19 years and 41 days -in turn beating Julen Guerrero’s record-.


Once again, FC Barcelona returns to dyeing ‘la Roja’ as a Barça player with up to seven representatives (Eric Garcia, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Gavi, Pedri, Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati). By contrast, Spain will have the smallest number of Real Madrid representatives, only Dani Carvajal and Marco Asensio, since 1950, when only white Luis Molowny went to Brazil.

In addition, no footballer from Real Sociedad, third-placed in LaLiga Santander, will go to Qatar. The good start to the season by men like Brais Méndez or Mikel Merino has gone unnoticed by the Asturian coach, who has preferred to bet on his ‘praetorian guard’ from recent calls. Also Real Betis, with players in form like Borja Iglesias or Sergio Canales, has been left without representation.

In this sense, none of the four top scorers in LaLiga Santander 2022-2023 will travel to the Asian country: Borja Iglesias (8 goals), Iago Aspas (7), Joselu (7) and Brais Méndez (6).