Proclaimed the winner of two golds (at the 2006 world championship and 2011 Eurobasket) and two silvers (Olympic Games in 2008 and ‘12) with Team Spain: “We have enough to compete for the gold medal and to win it, especially being the tournament hosts. It would be a prize for the fans, for everybody who follows us and an important [finish] for this generation that has led for so many years.”
Yet even with this high-powered lot which Calderon described as “a group of friends,” he maintains a sense of the specific challenge of the tournament format: There nevertheless “remains much room for improvement” for a side that has gone 7-0 in friendlies in 2014, “and we must still be aware that the World Cup is very difficult because you have to win the final four games.”
Beyond the star power, though, Calderon sees individuality as far from key: “The good thing is that we do not have a single leader.” The long-time togetherness has resulted in a team with “no specific leader, as can happen on other teams, and everyone pitches in.”
For this World Cup, then, Spain appears primed. And if this tournament does come down to a meeting with Team USA … well, the last time the teams met in the 2012 Olympics final, the Spaniards scared the Americans. In 2014, it could get positively terrifying for the world’s #1 ranked side.