Spain may have put out a second string side in the Confederations Cup on Thursday night but it didn’t stop them putting 10 goals past Tahiti at the Maracana.
With stars such as Andres Iniesta and Xavi rested by coach Vicente Del Bosque, no less than seven of Spain’s goals came from players who ply their trade in the Premier League, with Fernando Torres weighing in with four, David Silva scoring twice and Juan Mata adding his name to the scoresheet.
The reigning world and European champions’ incredible strength in depth got us thinking: could you field two separate Spanish sides, one drawn from English shores and one from La Liga?
And, if so, which team would come out on top in a head-to-head battle?
No less than 25 Spaniards played in the Premier League last season, with only Ireland and France having more representatives at 30 apiece. This translates to 7.5 per cent of the total players in the league and means we have a whole squad to choose from.
Though Pepe Reina played for Spain against Tahiti and has been an important figure in the dressing room during the country’s long spell of international dominance, Manchester United’s David De Gea is our pick and, on this season’s form at least, is superior to his Spanish counterpart Iker Casillas.
Defence was more of a problem. Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta and Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal provide two solid options at full-back – though not of the calibre of first-teamers Sergio Ramos and Jordi Alba – but we were scratching around for centre-backs.
Swansea’s Chico Flores has been one of the best performing defenders this season – making block after block and tackle after tackle – but we have to partner him with Aston Villa’s Carlos Cuellar due to a chronic lack of options. Barcelona’s Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique need not worry.
Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta is desperately unfortunate never to have won international recognition for Spain but he makes our Premier League XI along with Javi Garcia, who got the nod ahead of Oriol Romeu. In truth, though, neither possess the quality of Spain’s withdrawn three of Xavi, Xabi Alonso and Sergio Busquets.
The debate is closer in the advanced positions in midfield. While Barca’s Andres Iniesta would probably make any world XI, Pedro is rather less stellar and surely one or more of Juan Mata, Santi Cazorla and David Silva are superior to the forward. Given the Premier League’s strength in these positions, we had to leave out Swansea star Michu and Manchester City’s new recruit Jesus Navas entirely.
Up front the case made by David Villa is compelling given he has a record 56 goals for Spain, but while the Barcelona striker scored a hat-trick against Tahiti, Fernando Torres went one better by bagging four against the Pacific Islanders.
So, who would win in a battle between Spain's Premier League and Liga stars? Have a look at the predicted line-ups below and let us know...