For long, the Spanish have been the pretenders who never got the crown. But they surprised everyone by winning the 2004 Champions Trophy, their first major title on the world stage. Since then, they have finished on podium in the elite tournament and are looking good to add to that at the World Cup too.
Spanish coach Maurits Hendriks is not only a shrewd tactician but also one of the most respected coaches in world hockey today. Santiago Freixa is an exciting talent and the 23-year old ranks amongst the best today. With defender Xabi Ribas' experience and the exuberance of youth upfront, the Spaniards would be raring to set the record straight, having fallen to a disappointing 11th at the last edition in 2002 after being runners-up in 1998.