Spain – Three World Cup stars to look out for in Russia 2018

7/1 to go all the way

Surprisingly, The Red Fury have appeared in just one World Cup final throughout footballing history – winning the game’s biggest prize in South Africa 2010. Despite the stats weighing heaving against them punters will find Spain scratched up as 7/1 fourth favourites with 888Sport to again finish on the top-step.

They breezed through a difficult qualifying Group G, ending as champions on 28 points with a record reading nine wins and one draw. A place in Russia was expected of them but their progress was made all the more impressive by the fact they shared a pool with Italy who had to settle for the runner-up spot.

36 goals scored and only three conceded gives us a flavour of what to expect in June and July – plenty of goals, a well-organised defence and passion throughout the team. Their ranks are littered with stars so this was no easy task but we’ve managed to whittle it down to three players worth keeping an eye on…..

A goalkeeper you can rely on

Diego Costa

Is this the hitman’s chance to show poor old Chelsea what they are missing since both parties fell out and went their separate ways? We think so. There’s no doubt The Blues from London were a better side when Costa was in town, but it remains to be seen who will lead the attack. Surely not Alvaro Morata who has done very little in the Premier League this year? He’s 33/1 to top score.

We’re happy to take Morata out of the running and that leaves Costa – who has proven himself at the highest level – and teammate Rodrigo. Both strengthened their claims with goals in the warm-up ties, Costa called upon to face Argentina. The latter looks value if you fancy Spain, priced 40/1 to win the golden boot.

Andres Iniesta

Unbeaten in 18 games it’s highly unlikely Spain will suffer the indignity of another competition ended at the group stage. They have been simply sublime during qualification and in friendly matches and if we are to judge the World Cup winner on recent performances we’d have to make the reds odds-on favourites.

Everything good about their play so far in this competition has come through Andres Iniesta who is pulling the strings and looking like a man enjoying his football. And why not. The experienced midfielder has goal scoring talent in front of him to aim at and can get himself up the park knowing the likes of Ramos and Pique have got things covered. The nation will score plenty of goals, but Iniesta is a man you want in your dream team for the assists.

David De Gea

Some would say the Man Utd shot-stopper is arguably the best goalkeeper in the world but that’s nonsense – there’s no argument about it. He has been a real standout in The Red Devils side through thick and thin. It’s not often a goalie makes headlines, but he has been a joy to watch in England this season and his incredible saves are as entertaining as any goals he’s conceded.

We’ve spoken about the flair, imagination and passion going forward in this team but that all stems from the players taking confidence from the fact they’ve got a safe pair of hands between the sticks. If the strikers get the goals this man – with a watertight defence ahead of him – will keep the biggest names in world football at bay.