2018 World Cup Squads: 5 Most Experienced World Cup Teams in Russia
When teams kick off their 2018 FIFA World Cup campaign, one thing they will bank on is their combined experience in big tournaments. It's not easy to maintain the same core for a number of international tournaments.
But a cursory look at history suggests that teams that are able to retain their core usually go far in tournaments. It is the difference between top teams and those that are deemed world class.
Experienced squads always count on the grandest stage of all. They handle pressure better and know their roles without being told what to do.
So which teams have the most cumulative World Cup finals experience? Here are the top five.
Stats courtesy of Opta
#5 Spain: 55 appearances
It's understandable to have Spain on the list considering most of their core from the 2010 World Cup will be travelling to Russia. Any team that reaches the final of the World Cup in its current format is guaranteed to play seven games.
Four players from La Furia Roja have played more than 100 international games. Of the lot, the most experienced player is their captain Sergio Ramos.
The Real Madrid defender recently played his 150th game for Spain and was even feted before the game. Ramos will be playing in his fourth World Cup after making his debut in the competition in 2006.
Other experienced campaigners include Andres Iniesta who is also playing in his fourth World Cup. The other two players who have made at least 100 appearances are David Silva and Sergio Busquets while Gerard Pique (97) will hit that mark when he plays in the group games.
Spain's 23-man squad selected by coach Julen Lopetegui has an average age of 28 years and 178 days (on the day the World Cup begins). That is much older than other favourites such as Germany and France but younger than Brazil.
Spain could easily have been higher up the list if they had not exited the 2014 World Cup at the group stage. But they certainly wouldn't have topped the list as they have selected a number of players who are going to their first ever World Cup.