We continue with this walk down memory lane – I am really loving reliving the excitement and joy we felt during the World Cup, because when it was actually happening, it was too nerve-wracking and suspenseful! Today, we see how Spain successively beat Portugal, Paraguay and Germany to set up a final showdown with The Netherlands.
Here’s a bit more from Sergio Ramos’ biography, from the chapter “How they see him,” where many of Sergio’s current and former coaches and teammates, plus friends, wrote what they think about him. Here are the thoughts of some of the La Roja players and staff: Fernando Torres, Raúl Albiol, Vicente del Bosque, Jesús Navas and Albert Luque.
When Sergio and I began getting to know each other some time ago, I noticed that he had clear values and a frank personality, and that he was loyal to his ideas and would defend them in front of anyone. You could tell that at the age of 18, he already knew what he wanted. It wasn’t a matter of rebelling, it was a matter of principles. It bothers him when people have a wrong opinion of him, and that’s something I can relate to.
Sergio always tells you things to your face. He defends his ideas. He says everything that he’s thinking and he won’t let you twist his arm easily. He’s had problems with some coaches but not because he didn’t know what steps to take and who was in charge, which he knows clearly and is the first one to respect, but because he defends his ideas.
And we continue with the chapter “Champions of the World” in Más secretos de la Roja! In this excerpt, we find out what went on before and after the games against Switzerland, Honduras and Chile.
Switzerland (June 16, Moses Mabhida, Durban).
Spain and Switzerland were the last teams to play out of the 32. Spain used the same formula for the game. It had the ball and frequently got close to the rival goal. Arbeloa said, “I remember that 15 minutes into the game, I told Albiol that if we continued like this, no one could beat us. We were playing so well…” But the minutes passed and the goal didn’t come. In the 51st minute, Switzerland scored a goal. Casillas said, “the game could be summed up in that play. It was a real misfortune.” To make matters worse, Piqué suffered a cut above his eye and needed two stitches. Iniesta lost feeling in the back of his right thigh after receiving a blow and had to be taken out: “I was quite scared. I thought I had suffered something more serious than what I really had.”
Here we go with Más secretos de la Roja… (illustrated with moments from the Confederations Cup jersey photoshoot with Adidas).
Champions of the World.
Vicente del Bosque closed the folder and turned off the light in his office. It was the afternoon of May 18, 2010. Normally, he usually left Las Rozas earlier, many times to attend events. But this day wasn’t like any other one, because he had just made what could be the most important decision since he had taken on the role of national team coach. After a meeting of over two hours with his staff, Del Bosque had chosen the 23 footballers who would represent Spain in the upcoming World Cup.
So, with this chapter done, we are about halfway through the book, and I’m still not sure the point of the book is, since Silvia’s writing is very confusing. In this chapter, she goes off on multiple tangents, and covers many more things than the concentración. For example, on a section about spending time with Iniesta on the trip to Costa Rica, she speaks not only about that, but also Iraola’s wedding, shopping in the United States, team nicknames, playing bingo and inexplicably, Álvaro Arbeloa as a U-15 player with Aragón’s provincial team. She ends the chapter explaining how one of her nicknames came about (I don’t get it either). And the worst thing is, I haven’t learned anything new about the players or the team!
Chapter III: The concentración.
The residence: the Ciudad de Fútbol in Las Rozas is made up of various football fields, a gym, a press room, game rooms (pool, video games, library), restaurants and the residence. Some of the rooms in the residence are named after players such as Raúl, Fernando Hierro or Alfredo di Stéfano. Antonio Limones is responsible for assigning the rooms: “I do it based on relationships and not hierarchy. If Navas is called up, I give him a room near Ramos’ because I know they’re friends. It’s the same with Arbeloa and Albiol, or Iniesta and Valdés. The players always know which room they get. They take the elevator up, all of the rooms are open and the keys are on top of the bed.” This is how the routine always goes, no matter which hotel the team is staying at.
I hope you’re not tired of winning yet, because we have just added another trophy to our collection! In this post: La Rojita’s grand achievement, plus the latest on the Olympic team and all the leftovers from La Roja following the conclusion of its Eurocopa.
Continuing with the celebration in Madrid…
The goddess was wearing her best Spain finery for this occasion. I wonder if Xabi was already too drunk at this point to remember how drunk he had been the last time he was here, and how amusing that was for all of us?
Here is how the rest of the day of celebration in Madrid went: the plane ride from Kiev to Madrid, meeting with the king (no one told the elephant joke) and the slow descent into mass drunkenness, starting on the open air bus.