Spain are one of the eight nations who have won the FIFA World Cup. Their one and only success came in South Africa in 2010. Although featuring in each of the last 11 tournaments, the Spaniards have only got past the quarter-finals once (in 2010) since finishing fourth at the 1950 World Cup in Brazil. This is seen by many as a massive underachievement for a side who have boasted some truly top-class players over the years.
When Did Spain Last Win the World Cup?
Spain have won the World Cup once, which was the 2010 World Cup that took place in South Africa – the first time it had been staged by an African nation.
World Cup Results
Spain last failed to qualify for a World Cup back in 1974, which took place in West Germany. Since then, La Roja have participated in each of the following 11 finals, winning the competition in 2010. In 1986 and 1994, Spain reached the last eight, while they finished fourth in Brazil way back in 1950, which was only their second World Cup appearance after making their debut in the second World Cup tournament in 1934 which took place in Italy.
|Year||Host||Stage of Elimination (Position)||Manager||Top Scorer|
|2022||Qatar||Round of 16 (13th)||Luis Enrique||Alvaro Morata (3)|
|2018||Russia||Round of 16 (10th)||Fernando Hierro||Diego Costa (3)|
|2014||Brazil||Group Stage (23rd)||Vicente del Bosque||Xabi Alonso (1), Juan Mata (1), Fernando Torres (1) & David Villa (1)|
|2010||South Africa||Winners (1st)||Vicente del Bosque||David Villa (5)|
|2006||Germany||Round of 16 (9th)||Luis Aragones||Fernando Torres (3) & David Villa (3)|
|2002||South Korea & Japan||Quarter-finals (5th)||Jose Antonio Camacho||Fernando Morientes (3) & Raul (3)|
|1998||France||Group Stage (17th)||Javier Clemente||Fernando Hierro (2) & Fernando Morientes (2)|
|1994||USA||Quarter-finals (8th)||Javier Clemente||Jose Luis Caminero (3)|
|1990||Italy||Round of 16 (10th)||Luis Suarez||Michel (4)|
|1986||Mexico||Quarter-finals (7th)||Miguel Munoz||Emilio Butragueno (5)|
|1982||Spain||Round 2 (12th)||Jose Santamaria||Juanito (1), Roberto Lopez Ufarte (1), Enrique Saura (1) & Jesus Maria Zamora (1)|
|1978||Argentina||Group Stage (10th)||Ladislao Kubala||Juan Manuel Asensi (1) & Dani (1)|
|1966||England||Group Stage (10th)||Jose Villalonga||Amancio (1), Josep Maria Fuste (1), Pirri (1) & Manuel Sanchis (1)|
|1962||Chile||Group Stage (13th)||Helenio Herrera||Adelardo (1) & Joaquin Peiro (1)|
|1950||Brazil||Final Round (4th)||Guillermo Eizaguirre||Telmo Zarra (4) & Estanislau Basora (4)|
|1934||Italy||Quarter-finals (5th)||Amadeo Garcia||Jose Iraragorri (2)|
Times Spain Won the World Cup
Spain’s one and only World Cup triumph came on South African soil in 2010. Two years after winning UEFA Euro 2008, the Spaniards finished on top of the world under Vicente del Bosque.
2010 – First World Cup Success
Spain, who were European champions at the time and who boasted a squad packed full of world class players, were one of the pre-tournament favourites going into the 2010 World Cup. Despite starting Group H with a shock 1-0 defeat to Switzerland in Durban, they went on to win the group by beating Honduras 2-0 and Chile 2-1, David Villa netting three goals over the two victories.
In the knockout stages, La Roja beat Iberian rivals Portugal 1-0 in the Round of 16 with David Villa again providing the crucial goal. Paraguay were up next in the quarters and though Spain were fancied to win easily, they made hard work of things and had to rely on that man Villa to score the decisive goal in the 83rd minute in another 1-0 triumph.
Spain met Germany in their semi final in a match that many though would have made a decent final. As it turned out it was another tight and cagey affair with neither side willing to risk playing expansive football. Spain edged the win, yet another 1-0, but this time it was Carles Puyol who scored the goal to send the Spanish to their first World Cup final.
The final against Netherlands (who had beaten Uruguay 3-2 in their semi) took place in Johannesburg on 11th July 2010. The match was not a great spectacle and it will be remembered as much for the many fouls committed as much as for any quality of play. It was not a classic final by any means and wit no one able to break the deadlock it limped to extra time. It was then that Andres Iniesta scored (in the 116th minute) to win it for Spain.
Spain have flattered to deceive in a number of World Cups over the years, but they were in impressive form at the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan. Managed by Jose Antonio Camacho, the national team reached the quarter-finals, eventually losing out to co-hosts South Korea in controversial fashion in the last eight. Spain had two goals disallowed and went on to lose 5-3 on penalties in Gwangju.
Golden Boot / Top Goalscorer
When Spain won the World Cup back in 2010, David Villa finished joint top scorer of the competition with five goals to his name. Germany’s Thomas Muller, Holland’s Wesley Sneijder and Uruguay’s Diego Forlan each also netted five goals but eh Golden Boot was awarded to Muller as he had had more assists than the others.
|Year||Host||Player||Number of Goals||Runner(s) Up|
|2010||South Africa||David Villa||5||Joint Top Scorer – Thomas Muller (5), Wesley Sneijder (5) & Diego Forlan (5)|
Times Spain Didn’t Qualify for the World Cup
Spain have failed to qualify for four World Cups. They missed out in Switzerland in 1954 and Sweden in 1958 before reaching the 1962 tournament in Chile. Since failing to qualify for West Germany in 1974, Spain have played in every World Cup. They did not enter the inaugural tournament in Uruguay in 1930 and then withdrew from the 1938 tournament during qualification due to the Spanish Civil War.
|1974||West Germany||Ladislao Kubala||5||2||2||1|
As defending champions in 2014, Spain had a World Cup to forget in Brazil. Naturally, La Roja were one of the pre-tournament favourites, but Vicente del Bosque’s troops were woeful on Brazilian turf.
Spain were humiliated by Holland in their opener, losing 5-1 in Salvador. They then lost 2-0 to Chile to exit the competition in the group stage for the first time since 1998. The Spaniards did restore some pride with a 3-0 victory over Australia in their final group game, but they finished the tournament in 23rd place, which was a shocking result considering the players they had in their squad at the time.