Enjoy our faster App experience

Exclusive: Spain need luck to win World Cup, says Iker Casillas

The legendary Spain goalkeeper kicked off the World Cup trophy tour with Brazil icon Kaka in Dubai on Thursday



Iker Casillas and Kaka hold the Fifa World Cup trophy during an event in Dubai on Thursday. (Photo by Shihab)
Iker Casillas and Kaka hold the Fifa World Cup trophy during an event in Dubai on Thursday. (Photo by Shihab)
by

Rituraj Borkakoty

Published: Fri 13 May 2022, 12:00 AM

In his heyday, Iker Casillas was not just famous for lightning-quick reflexes as a goalkeeper. At times, the custodian of Real Madrid and Spanish fortunes could sense danger long before his defenders got into positions to negate an attacking threat.

No wonder then that Casillas, who famously led Spain to their only World Cup triumph in 2010 without conceding a single goal in four knockout games, is not ready to listen to his heart when it comes to backing the youthful Spanish team for the ultimate glory at the Qatar 2022.

While the average age of the team was only 24, Spain left an indelible mark on the Euro 2020 last year, showing both flair and resilience as they reached the semifinals.

The three-time European champions then dominated their 2022 World Cup qualifying group, winning six out of eight matches, to book their place for football’s greatest tournament.

Head coach Luis Enrique’s belief in youth is reaping rich rewards.

The turnaround in Spanish fortunes has been remarkable since Enrique took over as coach four years ago, after the 2018 World Cup disaster ended the international careers of ageing icons Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Diego Costa, Sergio Ramos and Gerard Pique.

But, according to Casillas, this year’s World Cup could be a different ball game in Qatar where the talented young Spanish team have been clubbed with four-time champions Germany, Japan and the winner of the CONCACAF–OFC playoff in Group E.

“Luis Enrique has taken young players from very different clubs, so it’s a very diverse Spanish team at the moment,” Casillas told the Khaleej Times on Thursday, after kicking off the World Cup trophy tour with Brazil icon Kaka in Dubai on Thursday.

“We need to wait and see how these players play together in Qatar. Of course, I want Spain to do well and win. But, you know, they will need luck to win the tournament.”

Casillas then recalled the day when he led Spain to their most famous triumph as Iniesta’s majestic extra-time goal in the 2010 final against the Netherlands earned La Roja their first and only World Cup trophy in history.

“Winning the World Cup, holding the beautiful trophy, was just a special feeling. It’s every kid’s dream to reach that level, to win that tournament. Once you really get it, it’s like achieving all your dreams,” he said.

“And it was the first (World Cup) trophy for us. For me and my teammates, it was such a wonderful moment in our lives and a truly magical moment for my country. Those emotions I can never describe, it was the most beautiful trophy in the history of Spain.”


More news from Football