Spain are in the driving seat for a World Cup clean sheet sweep
It would certainly be a bold bet to make, given that they’ve kept just one clean sheet in their last six games and sides like Austria, Bosnia, Armenia, Macedonia and South Africa have all found the net against them in the last year.
However, their record in World Cup Qualifying was much better, where they recorded six clean sheets in ten games and didn’t let in a single goal on home soil, only taking their foot off the boil in their final fixtures (they conceded three of their five in total in their final two games).
Looking at recent World Cup Winners, we can see that in 2006 Italy conceded two goals, Brazil (2002) four, France (1998) two, Brazil (1994) three, whilst both West Germany (1990) and Argentina (1986) conceded five.
The longest record for going without conceding a goal was back in 1990 when the Italians went 517 minutes without conceding, before Argentina’s Claudio Caniggia scored in the semi-final. That no team has done it before, however, does not mean it isn’t possible.
This is without doubt one of the finest international sides in recent times. They’ve now gone an incredible 45 games with just one defeat (USA 2-0, June 2009) and they’ve won 34 of their last 35 fixtures keeping 22 clean sheets.
The Spanish defensive unit that are likely to play this summer have all played at least 40 games this season for some of the best teams in world football – Iker Casillas (46 games), Sergio Ramos (40), Carlos Puyol (48), Gerard Pique (49) and Joan Capdevilla (45), and all have vast international experience and are used to playing alongside each other.
And following a kind draw, with goal-shy Switzerland, minnows Honduras and an inexperienced Chile side in their group, a first-ever clean sheet sweep is certainly within their grasp.