day 29 – to the quarterfinals!
June 18, 2012.
It’s time to break with the past! France will be our next rival in the Eurocopa quarterfinals, and in the six official games played between Spain and France, Spain doesn’t have a single victory (one tie and five losses). Out of the 30 games played, Spain’s balance is 13-6-11. I still remember how painful it was when France eliminated us in the 2000 Eurocopa and the 2006 World Cup, so hopefully this time Spain will break with the precedence. There’s no time like now!
As for the game that brought us into the quarterfinals, well, we had the “Parador Nacional” (“parador nacional” can mean this or someone who makes stops), who also happens to be a saint.
Spain vs. Croatia.
ONE. In the group stage, Spain was the country that scored the most goals, allowed the fewest number of goals, had the most ball possession, had the highest number of complete passes and the highest passing completion percentage, and took the most shots at goal. And still there’s criticism?
TWO. Some pre-game moments. We had Fernando Llorente, Javi Martínez (!!!), Santi Cazorla and PF Juan Mata being all adorable and smiley, while Álvaro Negredo spent most of the pre-game period chatting with his good friend and Sevilla teammate Ivan Rakitic. They spent so long chatting that Álvaro’s (national team) teammates teased him about it afterward.
THREE. Just a random observation which makes a lot of sense – the bajitos put their arms around their teammates’ waists during the anthem, while the taller players prefer shoulders. Sergio, as always, has to be different, and so he does one of each.
FOUR. Andrés was Oliver again! Cesc had his moment too…
FIVE. They made us wait until the very end for the goal, but it was worth the wait, as it allowed Spain to finish first in the group.
After the game, Jesús confirmed that the goal was dedicated to his future child, his first one, who is due in mid-August. Did you also notice that he has “Alejandra & Jesús” on his boots? And the goal wouldn’t have meant anything if it hadn’t been for this paradón Iker made on Rakitic earlier in the game.
Once again, we can see Iker has reflexes like a cat.
SIX. Bench moments – VV playing around with Javi (!!!), and Fernando Torres smelling something bad (at least it looks that way). He first thought it was coming from PF (jajaja!) and then after he took a sniff and found out it wasn’t, he sniffed himself. Too bad we didn’t get to see what the conclusion was.
SEVEN. Pepe moments – Pepe was so nervous during the game that he couldn’t stand still, and when Spain finally scored, he leaped into the air out of relief and joy. Look at his celebration! I love this man.
EIGHT. Iker moments – doing what he does best: shouting instructions at his teammates, and kissing and high-fiving Sergio.
Love the view!
NINE. The shirts came flying off after the game. Yay! Among those who exchanged shirts were Sergio, Iniesta, Busquets, Iker, Arbeloa, Cesc, Piqué…
Here are a couple shots of Sergio’s delectable torso…
… and another one, because I know you all would appreciate it. Yum!
It was adorable how Piqué was waving and blowing kisses towards Shakira at the conclusion of the game!
Iker had already given his gloves away to fans, and his shirt to Croatian keeper Stipe Pletikosa, and got even more naked (but still not enough) on the way back to the locker room, as he tossed his shorts into the crowd.
TEN. Álvaro Arbeloa has received a lot of criticism for his performances, and Vicente del Bosque has received a lot of criticism for playing Álvaro, but consider this: in this game, Arbeloa contained 12 advances of the rival team, he got the ball twice during two dangerous Croatian counterattacks, he suffered the most fouls in the game (five, as did Busquets) and he completed 84 percent of his 64 passes to achieve a score of 9.25 on the Castro ranking.
ELEVEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
Here is Xabi’s pre-game music, stretching and warm-up routine.
I love how he turns the stretch into a pose seamlessly!
A glimpse of Xabi’s abs…
I wouldn’t ever want to receive that look of disappointment from Xabi.
After the game, Xabi spoke about his upcoming 100th game (this one was number 99 for Xabi): “I hope to achieve number 100 in the quarterfinals. I’ve spent many years in this team but I never imagined I would get to 100. Not many do.”
TWELVE. The forest corner.
In his post-game press conference, VDB said this win was a “difficult” one but showed his satisfaction over the step forward taken by Spain: “we fought so that we wouldn’t have a tie in mind, because that would have been dangerous for us. We’ve taken a weight off our shoulders, we’ve taken a step forward and that’s what should motivate us in the quarterfinals, with our philosophy and style of play. We should be more of ourselves than we were in this game.” He went on to say, “it’s true that we suffered, but they did as well. The important thing about these tournaments is that when you have a bad day, you continue going forward.”
THIRTEEN. Other things.
Look who was at the game! Alba Arbeloa and Grecia, Alma and Luca Reina, along with their beautiful mothers!
The unlucky Víctor Valdés was once again chosen for the drug test. He wrote on his Facebook, “it’s my turn again for Antidoping. Perhaps it’s because the quality of my blood is abnormal and that’s why I have to donate it after each game! Or perhaps they want something else from me! Jajajaja, greetings from Poland!’ Álvaro Arbeloa was the other player randomly chosen for the drug test.
During the morning, the team took a photo with the personnel of Hotel Gdansk, as this was their last stay in the hotel. They also took a walk, as per their custom. After the game, Spain returned to Gniewino, while a storm was going on. While waiting for the team bus to leave, Cesc was spotted chatting with his former coach, Arsene Wenger. He also posed with Piqué on the bus…
… as did Sergio and his “enano” Jesús.
FOURTEEN. “Gracias Sara” became a trending topic on twitter during and after the game. The phrase translates to “thank you Sara.” As you know, Sara Carbonero is working as Telecinco’s sideline reporter during La Roja’s games, and each time she gives her report, the main commentators always respond with “Gracias Sara,” hence the hashtag. In the two previous games, she’s been criticized for constantly giving useless or irrelevant information. For example, when she was asked about the weather, she responded, “where is Mario Picazo!” (Telecinco’s meteorologist). She added, “there are clouds and I don’t know if it will rain, but I don’t think the game will be suspended. I won’t believe it until I see it.” In addition, there was also the amusing situation that no matter what she says, the main commentators ended up ignoring whatever she just said and just respond “Gracias Sara” (I feel bad for her). Twitter users combined both these occurrences to create this trending topic. It was really quite amusing, for the ingenuity.
Juanma Castaño’s interviewing has also been criticized. He needs to get over himself. Anyway, some of the best tweets were:
- Sara, ¿una porra para el partido de hoy? – La de Iker. – Gracias Sara.
- Sara, ¿cómo ves lo de jugar sin nueve? – Que dos contra once va a ser más difícil. – Gracias Sara.
- Sara, ¿cuál es el 11 de Inglaterra? – Eleven. – Gracias Sara.
- Sara, ¿algún cambio en Croacia? – Pues no sé. Yo estoy en Polonia. – Gracias Sara.
- Sara, ¿cuánto hay de descuento? – 20 euros en estos zapatos monísimos. – Gracias Sara.
– Sara, ¿qué piensa Del Bosque? – Yo soy más de playa. – Gracias Sara.
- Sara, ¿cuál es el estado de nuestros jugadores? – Hey there! I’m using Whatsapp. – Gracias Sara.
- Sara, ¿puedes hablar con Cesc? – Cí, claro, ¿ací te cirve? – Gracias Sara.
- Sara, ¿hay corner? – Sí, he contado y en cada esquina hay uno. – Gracias Sara.
They kind of lose their meaning if translated into English, but if you want, I can try and explain (just let me know). Anyway, in the end, Sara has the last laugh, because Iker is hers, and as we’ve seen, he’s very much in love with her and will defend her to no end.
Posted on June 20, 2012, in daily, games and tagged arbeloa, cazorla, cesc, del bosque, iker, in case you missed it, iniesta, javi, llorente, mata, navas, negredo, pepe, piqué, sergio, torres, valdés, xabi. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.