When Spain didn't win

By Natasha Sporn ASSOCIATED PRESS
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Even champions can't always win

A look back at those games since Spain's Euro 2008 triumph in which they've failed to secure victory See Gallery

Current European and world champions Spain have secured their status as one of the greatest national teams in football and will rightly travel to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil as one of the favourites.

Their recent success in major tournaments began when they won the 2008 European Championship with a 1-0 defeat of Germany in the final. Since then, they have been consistently ranked as the world’s number one team by FIFA, going on to win their first World Cup in 2010 and a second Euros in 2012.

However, despite their success since 2008, they haven't always been able to come out on top in every match. In fact, Spain might not be just as invincible as many think. With the World Cup finals on the horizon, we take a look back at the matches Spain have not won since Euro 2008.

AP Photo/Paul Thomas
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June 24, 2009: United States 2-0 Spain

The United States team narrowly made it past the group stages of the 2009 Confederations Cup, but caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when they beat Spain 2-0 in the semi-final. Spain’s hopes of reaching the final in South Africa were crushed as Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey put two goals past goalkeeper Iker Casillas in Bloemfontein.

ASSOCIATED PRESS/Julie Jacobson
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June 16, 2010: Switzerland 1-0 Spain

Although Spain were the eventual winners of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, they lost their first match in Group H to Switzerland. A 52nd minute goal by Gelson Fernandes (pictured, right) put the Swiss in front and they held their lead until the end, grabbing their first three points of the tournament.

ASSOCIATED PRESS/Eduardo Verdugo
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August 11, 2010: Mexico 1-1 Spain

Spain's first match after winning the World Cup in 2010, a friendly with Mexico, finished as a 1-1 draw. Javier Hernández gave Mexico an early lead and it took until the 90th minute for Spain to grab their equaliser, thanks to David Silva.

AP Photo/Alberto Raggio
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September 7, 2010: Argentina 4-1 Spain

Nearly three months after Spain were crowned world champions in South Africa, Argentina beat Spain 4-1 in Buenos Aires. Superb goals from Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuaín and Carlos Tévez put the reigning champions 3-0 down within 34 minutes. Fernando Llorente pulled one goal back for Spain in the 84th minute, before Argentina substitute Sergio Agüero gave the South American side their fourth and final goal.

AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia
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August 10, 2011: Italy 2-1 Spain

A late goal from Alberto Aquilani gave former world champions Italy a friendly victory over the current champions. Spain had put out an impressive side and looked to be heading for a draw until the closing minutes.

ASSOCIATED PRESS/Armando Franca
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November 17, 2010: Portugal 4-0 Spain

Spain started this friendly fixture against local rivals Portugal well but soon found themselves suffering their heaviest defeat in 47 years as their Iberian rivals beat them 4-0. Two goals from Hélder Postiga, one from Carlos Martins and a final addition from Hugo Almeida made for an embarrassing result for the world champions in Lisbon. This game’s outcome was very different from the result five months earlier when the pair met at 2010 World Cup in South Africa, where Spain won 1-0.

AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
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November 12, 2011: England 1-0 Spain

Despite Spain dominating the game against England, the home side managed to score in the 49th minute of their friendly match at Wembley stadium. England's Frank Lampard headed in the only goal after team-mate Darren Bent's header had deflected off the post.

JUAN CARLOS ULATE/Newscom/RTR
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November 15, 2011: Costa Rica 2-2 Spain

One of Spain’s worst performances in recent years came in a friendly away to Costa Rica. The home side outplayed their more esteemed opponents to go 2-0 up in the first half, before David Villa pulled one back for Spain in the 83rd minute. Ten minutes later, with Costa Rica homing in on a famous victory, David Villa equalised for Spain, sparing the world champions' blushes and denying the South Americans a deserved win.

AP Photo/Gero Breloer
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June 10, 2012: Spain 1-1 Italy

Spain's first game of Euro 2012, a tournament they would go on to win, started with a draw against Italy. Antonio Di Natale put Italy in front in the 61st minute, only for Cesc Fàbregas to equalise soon after for Spain. The two teams met again three weeks later in the Euro 2012 final, where Spain secured an easy 4-0 victory.

FELIX ORDONEZ/Newscom/RTR
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October 16, 2012: Spain 1-1 France

Another draw for Spain, this time in their World Cup qualifying Group I as an Olivier Giroud goal for France in the dying seconds of the match denied Spain the win they had looked certain to secure. Sergio Ramos had given Spain the lead in the 25th minute, but La Roja failed to get a second, decisive goal, leaving the two teams tied at the top of their qualifying group.

ELOY ALONSO/Newscom/RTR
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March 22, 2013: Spain 1-1 Finland

Spain were held to a draw at home by Finland in their Group I match during the qualifying stage for the World Cup 2014. Teemu Pukki equalised for Finland 11 minutes from the end to prevent Spain from getting three points and topping the group. Spain’s goal had been scored by Sergio Ramos in the 49th minute.

Getty Images
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June 27, 2013: Italy 0-0 (Spain won 7-6 on penalties)

After progressing easily through the group stages of the 2013 Confederations Cup - beating Uruguay 2-1, thrashing Tahiti 10-0 and defeating Nigeria 3-0 - Spain could not score against Italy in the semi-final as the match ended 0-0. Spain won 7-6 on penalties to reach the final.

AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
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June 30, 2013: Brazil 3-0 Spain

Spain's first Confederations Cup final was against Brazil in the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The host nation easily defeated the world champions 3-0 to lift their third consecutive Confederations Cup with Fred scoring two of Brazil’s goals and Neymar the other. The Spanish cause was not helped by a missed penalty from defender Segio Ramos and fellow centre-back Gerard Pique's red card.

DENIS BALIBOUSE/Newscom/RTR
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September 10, 2013: Spain 2-2 Chile

Before securing qualification to the 2014 World Cup in October, Spain came up short for the third time against South American opposition as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Chile in a friendly in September 2013.

La Roja were lucky to get a draw: two goals by Chile forward Eduardo Vargas and one for Spain by Roberto Soldado put the hosts 2-1 behind, before substitute Jesus Navas scored an injury-time equaliser in Geneva.

SIPHIWE SIBEKO/REUTERS
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November 19, 2013: South Africa 1-0 Spain

Spain endured an unhappy return to the stadium in which they won the 2010 World Cup final when they slipped to a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of South Africa at the Soccer City Stadium in Johannesburg. The hosts were deserving winners, disrupting their more decorated opponents throughout and scoring the decisive goal on 56 minutes, when Bernard Parker collected a through pass and dinked the ball over La Roja goalkeeper Victor Valdes

The game ended in controversial circumstances as Valdes was forced off with an injury in the second half with Spain having used all their allocated substitutes. After lengthy delay, referee Osiase Koto allowed Spain manager Vicente del Bosque to make another substitution – much to the ire of opposite number Gordon Igesund. It did not matter in the end though, as the Bafana Bafana were able to hold on seal one of the most surprising results in recent Spanish history.