July saw Spain do what no team has done before. This generation of players completed an incredible feat. Their 4-0 demolition of Italy in the final of Euro 2012 meant Vicente del Bosque's side became the first team in history to win three major tournaments in a row.
2010's World Cup triumph is sandwiched between double European Championship success, as La Roja now turn their attentions to the qualifying stages of World Cup 2014. Spain will battle with France, Georgia, Belarus and Finland in their quest to make it an almost unimaginable four major tournament wins in succession.
Competition for places is obviously tough. Names such as Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Xavi Hernandez, Andres Iniesta and Fernando Torres have been mainstays of the side throughout the unprecedented success, which means players may find it hard to break into the squad. You see players like Fernando Llorente, Santi Cazorla and Cesc Fabregas struggling to make an impact for their country, but players will always be looking to impress.
Another such player looking to catch the eye of Del Bosque is Real Betis' midfield magician Benat Etxebarria.
Benat has been a star performer for Betis since being promoted from Betis' B team in 2010. He spearheaded the Betis midfield on their way to promotion and a return to La Liga, but it was in the 2011-12 season where people really stood up and took notice of his talents. Six goals and five assists last term made him a key part of Betis team last season, and he helped them achieve their target of survival, with a comfortable 13th placed finish. His displays have prompted considerable interest from former club Athletic Bilbao and German side Wolfsburg, particularly as he started the new term in similar form.
Benat is obviously a very fine player, but what chance has he got of international recognition, given he is a deep-lying Spaniard?
The problem he faces is that Spain are notoriously strong in the midfield department. Behind first-choice duo Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso you will find new Bayern Munich signing Javi Martinez waiting in the wings. No matter how you look at it, Benat has got a challenge on his hands for a place in that line-up.
There is a glimmer of hope, however. During Spain's warm up games for Euro 2012, Athletic Bilbao were taking on Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final – meaning players from either side couldn't join up with the Spanish squad. As a result, Del Bosque had to call up a number of players who previously had rarely featured under him.
Benat was one of those players, and he made his international debut in a 2-0 win over Serbia. After a superb season for Betis the midfielder provided Del Bosque and the wider media with the message that he too was good enough for regular consideration. With the player subsequently named in the squad for this week’s meetings with Saudia Arabia and Georgia, it looks like Del Bosque agrees.
With games that Spain should win in their group such as Georgia and Belarus, it will be interesting to see whether Del Bosque decides to use his options on the bench to greater effect. If he does, we can safely assume that Benat will be a player pushing to make the team.
Another strong season with the Andalusians and Benat can really stake a claim for a regular place in Del Bosque's selections. It won't be easy for him and a move to perceivably 'bigger' club could do him a huge favour, but over the course of qualifying, make sure you keep an eye out for Benat – he could surprise you.