Spain - No (S)pain, No Gain
Spain come into the tournament as one of the favourits - but does that matter if their shirt design looks a bit rubbish?/p>
If you want a quick reminder of our judging criteria, please click here.
16 of the 23-man squad make their money in La Liga. Either the majority of the squad has an acute fear of flying, or the Spanish league must be pretty good. Given that a Spanish team has won the Champions League for three years on the trot, I’d opt for the latter.
Spanish players stay mainly in Spain.
Design & Branding
The colours are absolutely bang-on. The deep red and golden yellow combine to conjure an image of sipping a full-bodied rioja whilst watching the sun set over the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Unfortunately the shirt looks like it run over by a car with multi-coloured tyres, leaving a kaleidoscopic smudge on the right-hand side of the shirt. This design choice may have some deeper meaning – perhaps the Spanish team are “driven” to succeed” or that they are going to “make their mark” – whatever.
Unfortunately, this shirt is a bit of a car crash.
Sweepstake Pick: Claudia
"My allegiance is normally with Italy, but Spain are in the same general part of the world - so they'll do!" - Thoughts from proud Italian, Claudia.
Sergio Ramos, Spain's bad boy defender, has decided to spearhead the Spanish national team's promotional efforts by releasing his own World Cup novelty song. For those who aren't well-acquainted with the off-field exploits of footballers, you may be surprised to learn that more than a few of them have been seduced by the bright lights and glamour of a middling pop music career.
In the UK alone, we've been lucky to hear the dulcet tones of: Kevin Keegan with the romantic banger “Head Over Heels in Love”, Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle with the inspiring “Diamond Lights”, and of course Paul Gascoigne with the tear-jerker “Geordie Boys (Gazza Rap)”.
The title of Sergio's song, "Otra Estrella en tu Corazón", translates to "Another Star on Your Heart" and refers to the embroidered star that sits above the Spanish national team's badge. It's a song that aims to rekindle the passion of the World Cup-winning team of 2010, of which Ramos was a key figure. Ramos is joined on vocals by Spanish singer Demarco Flamenco, as well as a generous helping of auto-tune.
Even if I don’t listen to Sergio’s music, I appreciate the fact that he’s making it.
If we're looking for one fan to personify Spanish fan culture, we'd be hard-pressed to look beyond “Manolo, el del bombo”, a large man that carries an equally-large drum to the national team's games since 1982. Manolo is there rain or shine and the only thing that has been able to keep Manolo away from the match has been pneumonia - but even that could only sideline Manolo for one match. This man is a machine.
Without a car to follow the national team during the 1982 World Cup in Spain, Manolo hitch-hiked nearly 16,000 km across the country to show his support at every match. Hats off to Manolo for this incredible level of dedication, but I think we also need to salute those drivers who willingly gave a lift to a strange man with an enormous bass drum under his arm - truly inspirational.
Manolo really puts me at shame. I won’t even bother changing the channel to watch England if the remote control is out of my reach...
We should all be marching to the beat of Manolo's drum.
A very strong score for the Spaniards.