things from Saturday
News from the world of La Roja!
One. La Rojita beat Croatia 2-1 last night behind goals from Adrián and San José. The midfield was excellent, but the boys’ aim wasn’t so good. Let’s hope they do better on Tuesday in Croatia!
Awww, even their shirts have a star.
Juan Mata tweeted about the game today, saying that the team will suffer against Croatia to achieve their goal but are sure they will be able to do it, and also gave thanks to Burgos for how they cheered on the team and him.
Bonus: video of Juanín and his lookalike father Juan. Includes pictures of baby Juanín, who is extremely, extremely adorable. What a cute kid he was (and still is)!
Two. Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso are recovering from the knock to the right ankle and the sore throat, respectively, that they suffered on Friday. Both will be available to play on Tuesday in Scotland. Sergio told EFE that he’s feeling less pain in his ankle, and that there’s less inflammation after treatment. He expects to train normally today (session begins at 11h). Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente left the game with a big bruise on his right ankle as a souvenir, and although it’s still hurting him, he should also be fine for Tuesday.
Three. Fernando Llorente dedicated the two goals he scored on Friday to his parents, who were at the stadium watching their son.
Fer’s teammates also said nice things about him. Iniesta said, “he has a native ability to find open spaces, use his body and get the ball,” while Piqué added that, “he uses his body very well [that he does!], he’s very powerful when he runs, he’s fast… he’s an impressive forward. I suffer a lot against him, so if I tell you that he’s good…”
Four. Xavi spoke about his injury, saying that he’s fine, although he finds it a bit strange to have nothing to do for 15 days. He added that the break is helping him mentally, and that his tendon is a lot better. Xavi revealed, “it was the best moment to stop. Although I’m better now, I suffered a lot and I played with great pain… I’m very stubborn and I always want to play but in the end the pain was insupportable. After the game against Kazán, I spoke with Del Bosque and Pep. I thought it was the right time to take a break.”
This reveals what a great player Xavi is: he always played “with the risk of snapping his Achilles tendon,” which would have meant an end to the season, but admitted that he always “wanted to take that risk.”
Five. Who else is enjoying his time off? Cesc! And how sweet is that tweet for his sister?
My guess was Italy! Do I get half a prize or anything?
Six. And this shows an underlying characteristic of the entire Spanish national team.
In an interview with AS, Fernando Hierro was asked which title (Eurocopa or the World Cup) he felt was more his, as both were won during his time as sporting director of the RFEF (he’s now in his third year). His response? “None of them. Neither the Eurocopa or the World Cup. The titles belong to the players, the coach and the Federation. The sporting director is separate from that. If things go badly, the sporting director is responsible. But not if things go well.”
Seven. On Nov. 15, the RFEF plans to invite every single living person who wore the shirt of La Roja to honor the world champions. In addition, they want to get all their support for Iberia’s World Cup bid. The date was chosen because the national team will play a friendly against Portugal on Nov. 17 to support the bid, and to celebrate the centennial of the Portuguese republic (Spain seems to be the preferred guest for those types of events – they helped Mexico celebrate their bicentennial too), which means the team will be in Madrid. It is expected that Spain’s new shirt, which includes an escudo in accordance with their status as world champions, will also be presented on that day.