THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

wsc328 previewWhat are the expectations for the team?
They have fluctuated pretty regularly since the record third consecutive international trophy won at Euro 2012; there was the 3-0 Confederations Cup final defeat to Brazil last year and also home draws against Finland and France in qualifying. But these players have shown an ability to get things right on the big occasion – such as in their 1-0 win in the return match against the French. It means confidence of a repeat of the 2010 success is pretty high, with the biggest concern maybe a slip in the group against either Chile or Holland which could lead to a rematch with the hosts in the last 16.

Is the coach popular?
Vicente Del Bosque is quite possibly the best-loved public figure in Spain, a former Real Madrid player and coach who is even liked by fans of Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao. He manages to combine a calm and genial manner which never offends anyone, with an ability to clearly rebuke media pundits, club coaches or national politicians who try to use the team's success and profile for their own causes.

Are there any players who have appeared in TV commercials or other advertising?
Del Bosque, and the Spanish FA, have perfected turning the above popularity into commercial gain. His goofy smile has plugged everything from life insurance to anti-cholesterol yogurt drinks in recent years. Andrés Iniesta and Iker Casillas are also regularly seen hawking cars, ice cream, banks and razor blades. Fernando Torres is usually up for any commercial appearances, but he's had less chance to cash in lately.

Which players are good interviewees and who are the worst?
Xavi's interviews are an acquired taste but when you get past the talk of "philosophy" and "ideology", he is really interesting on subjects such as tactical systems and the history of the game. Cesc Fàbregas is also worth listening to, especially when he's in an introspective mood and analyses his inability to fit back in at Barcelona after the years at Arsenal. Casillas talks a lot, but rarely says anything interesting.

What will the media coverage be like?
The games are being covered live across private but free-to-air channels Telecinco and Cuatro, both owned by the Mediaset group. The late night panel discussion shows, two of which run seven days a week until 2am, will switch from bickering about club rivalries to backing their side in Brazil. Former national coach José Antonio Camacho returns to co-commentator duties for Spain's games, hoping for a repeat of his memorable celebration of Iniesta's winning goal in the 2010 final. Many viewers will be anticipating a repeat of the famous kiss between Casillas and his girlfriend Sara Carbonero, a TV reporter, as she tried to interview him immediately after that victory.

Is there a World Cup song?
It's called Buena Energia (Good Energy) and the video is full of branding for Spanish utility Iberdrola, who are also one of the Spanish FA's main sponsors. It features five players – including Xavi on drums at one point – with lots of sweeping green landscapes to show off the eco-friendliness of the commercial partners involved.

Will there be many fans travelling to the finals and will they have any chants/songs?
Financial issues, and the long distances, will mean fewer fans making the trip to Brazil than went to South Africa four years ago. Another notable absentee could be Manolo el del Bombo, who has been banging his drum at international games since 1982. FIFA safety regulations banned the instrument from last year's Confederations Cup, and it remains to be seen if he can make it this summer. Dermot Corrigan

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