Are Spain heading for a World Cup fall?

They are most people's favourites to succeed in South Africa and take the World Cup back to Spain. However, having watched Barcelona Ole Ole Ole their way to a 2 - 2 draw against a weakened Arsenal I feel it is time someone took a fresh look at the supposed champions elect.

My problem is this - Barca and Spain are excellent to watch. The movement and passing are at times breathtaking. At times they seem capable of walking the ball into the net. On the evidence of the first half against Arsenal the Spanish should stroll through the World Cup. I wouldn't be too surprised if Barca murdered Arsenal at the Nou Camp in the return leg of their Champions League clash.

Let's be honest; that tie should be over anyway. Only Barca's profligacy and Arsenal's spirit have somehow kept the North London team in the competition.

Now some people might be thinking the obvious right now – Barca aren’t Spain. You can’t draw conclusions from a Barca game and apply them to Spain.Well, who are Barca’s two centre halves? Puyol and Pique. Who will almost certainly start as the preferred centre halves for Spain in South Africa? Puyol and Pique.

Who are Barca’s top two midfielders? Xavi and Iniesta. Who will probably start as first choice central midfielders at the World Cup? Xavi and Iniesta.

OK, Barca’s main strikers are Messi and Ibrahimovic, and neither is Spanish. They’ll just have to rely on Torres and Villa instead. However, doubts about Torres’ fitness linger on as an injury scarred Premiership season with Liverpool grinds to an unsatisfactory end.

So why won’t I be surprised if Arsenal are well beaten in the return leg? One word: Messi. The young Argentine has captivated audiences at the Nou Camp and across Europe. I expect him to score against Arsenal. How good would Spain be if he could play for them?

The reality is Messi will be turning it on for Argentina while Spain Ole Ole Ole their way through the World Cup until they meet a side who pose the same question as Arsenal at The Emirates – if they can’t pass the ball into the net, what’s Plan B for Spain?

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