upcoming dates on the La Roja calendar
Things will begin picking up again in February…
On Feb. 7, the Laureus World Sports Awards will be handed out in Abu Dhabi, UAE, and there are two nominations that will make you happy! The first is the Spanish national football team, in the category of world team of the year, and Andrés Iniesta for best sportsman. La Roja will be up against New Zealand’s All Blacks (their national rugby team), the European Ryder Cup team, Inter Milan, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Red Bull F1 team. Meanwhile, Andresito will vie against fellow countryman Rafa Nadal, Sebastian Vettel, Manny Pacquiao, Kobe Bryant and – gulp – Leo Messi.
Juanín Mata and VDB attended one of the presentations of the nominees, the one held in Madrid, where Mata said that right now is an important moment for Spanish football, and that they hope it can be continued. He was also of course asked about the Ballon d’Or result, and he said that while it was not a surprise that Messi won, he thought a Spanish player would win. Meanwhile, VDB only had praise for the two winners, Leo Messi and José Mourinho.
El Picho said, “Great experience in the nominations for the Laureus Awards, surrounded by important figures from the world of sports, let’s see if the national team can win!”
On Feb. 8, the U-21 team – hopefully led by my beloved Javi Martínez – will play a friendly against Denmark in Guadalajara, at the Pedro Escartín. This is their first of three friendlies in preparation for June’s U-21 European Cup. The other two are scheduled for March 24 against France in France (only players born in 1990 will be called up) and on March 28 against Belarus (site to be confirmed). Both Denmark and Belarus will participate in the U-21 Euro.
And on Feb. 9, the national team will take on Colombia in a friendly to benefit the AFE (Asociación de Futbolistas Españoles), which is scheduled to take place in the Santiago Bernabéu. This will be their first game of the year, one in which there is a full calendar, as there are five more qualifying games for the 2012 Eurocopa.