Spain's desire to continue its glorious run is as strong as ever, but the champion will need something special if it is to become the first European side to win the World Cup in the Americas.

The only nation from the continent to win soccer's global showpiece outside Europe (South Africa, 2010), La Roja got a taste of things to come when it was thrashed 3-0 by host Brazil in the 2013 Confederations Cup final.

The pressure of the occasion as well as the intimidating Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, where July's World Cup final will be held, proved too much for the Spaniards. They were unable to match Brazil's intensity and fell to what was one of only three defeats under coach Vicente del Bosque (in competitive games) since he took over nearly six years ago.

That Brazil was able to dominate a Spain side used to having a lion's share of possession was partly due to the absence of the injured Xabi Alonso, whose partnership with Sergio Busquets in midfield creates a platform for teammates Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas to weave their magic.

Del Bosque, who masterminded Spain's campaign in South Africa and led it to a second-straight European title two years ago, would have learned from the reverse and planned well this time.

The former Real Madrid coach has only had to tinker with his team since he took over from the late Luis Aragones after the Euro 2008 triumph, but has recently begun to give more playing time to some of thes promising youngsters.

Though he will be reluctant to experiment too much in Brazil and risk upsetting the balance of a side stuffed with proven champions, del Bosque will have recourse to players capable of coming off the bench and changing a game, like the creative midfield pair of Juan Mata and Koke.

Perhaps, his most significant move was the controversial decision late last year to call Brazil-born forward Diego Costa into the squad, which provoked outrage in Costa's native country.

Spain scored just eight times in seven games at the 2010 World Cup and Costa, who made his debut in a 1-0 friendly win against Italy in March, could provide the cutting edge La Roja sometimes lack upfront.

The 25-year-old has scored a bagful of goals for Atletico Madrid in the La Liga and Champions League this season, and his combative playing style, strength in the air and ability to shoot with either foot can strike fear in any defence.

In Xavi, Iniesta, Fabregas and David Silva, Spain has some of the best passers in the game, and del Bosque will be counting on Costa to make intelligent runs into space created for him.

Spain's midfield revolves around the settled quartet of Alonso, Busquets, Xavi and Iniesta. At the back, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique have formed a solid partnership in the middle, with the pacy Jordi Alba on the left.

With Alvaro Arbeloa apparently falling out of favour, Cesar Azpilicueta looks to be in line for the right-back slot and del Bosque has stuck with captain Iker Casillas in goal despite him losing his first-team place at Real Madrid.

A majority of these players have won more trophies at club and international level than any before them, but Brazil proved at the Confederations Cup that the Spaniards can be beaten, and beaten soundly.

Nonetheless, few would bet against del Bosque and his hugely-talented squad defending the crown.

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