I will hopefully get around to an ICYMI for the U.S.-Spain game, but I have a lot of other things to do in my life that take priority, so we’ll see…
The Spanish delegation of 350 persons (media included) arrived in Venezuela last night at around 20h local time, after a four hour and 20 minutes flight, for the second (and last) stop on their summer tour. They then took a bus to Puerto La Cruz, where the game will be played, accompanied by a police escort of 15 motorbikes. At the hotel, the Venetur Puerto La Cruz, they’re being guarded by 80 military personnel. The most acclaimed players there were David Villa and Gerard Piqué. Prior to getting on a plane with destination Barcelona, Venezuela, the players had enjoyed a half day’s rest. The team will train today at 19h, and also meet with schoolchildren in the stadium. The game is on Tuesday, at 16h local time (22:30 Spain time).
* this is how Iker greeted the Venezuelan fans, down to the exact number of “a”s and exclamation marks (my 1/! key really didn’t need it).
As you can see, both Xabi and Sergio arrived carrying bags from – sigh – A&F. I only hope that Xabi bought clothes for his kids and that he’s not going to wear any of it. As for Sergio, my wish is that the company gave him free clothes, because he’s going to be the next torso of the company.
Meanwhile, Tuesday has been declared a non-working day in the nearby municipalities of Bolivar, Sotillo and Urbaneja in order to free up their police for this game, and to make sure that people can be at the José Antonio Anzoátegui stadium (which has a capacity of 40,000). Some 7,000 people are working in order to make sure everything will be secure.
Zipi and Zape couldn’t be separated, Fernando Llorente towers over David Silva and Iker’s inseparable purse made the trip as well. Time to start ignoring it again.
And a ton of our players were excited about Rafa Nadal’s French Open win! Iker, Álvaro A., Fernando Ll., Gerard and David V. posted about it on Facebook. ¡¡¡Felicidades Rafa!!! (Yes, this achievement is worthy of a Javi Martínez (!!!) !!! level of excitement, because Rafa is so great, and because he’s done underwear ads as well.)
Over in Soria, the U-21 team started out their friendly against Russia well, but kind of fell apart in the second half, leading to a 1-1 tie. Ander scored the goal for Spain in the 22nd minute. This was Spain’s only game before they begin playing in the Euro in Denmark this weekend. Of note: (por favor) Juan Mata, David de Gea and Iker Muniain are all slightly injured, while Thiago Alcántara and Javi Martínez (!!!) suffered slight injuries during the game, though they will have recovered before the first game on June 12 vs. England.
Javi (!!!) was of course all sorts of adorable as the captain and while celebrating his good friend Ander’s goal.
One more of Javi (!!!) because of his !!! legs.
P.S. Be sure to check out this adorable photo of Adrián and Juanín!
Meanwhile, the U-19 team qualified for the final phase of the U-19 Euro, after they tied England 1-1 behind a free kick goal from Isco and thus won the Elite Round. They finished with seven points from three games, the same as England, and it was their superior goal difference that sent them through. Spain dominated during almost the entire game, and the only bad note was the injury to Marc Muniesa, who appears to be out two to three weeks after injuring his hamstring. The final phase will be held from July 20 to Aug. 1 in Romania. The other teams in the competition are Belgium, Greece, Ireland, the Czech Republic, Serbia (I typed “Ser” and my hands automatically finished with “gio” for me), Romania, and either Turkey or Germany, depending on who wins their game today. Hopefully Isco and Álex will room together again!
And while the rest of his teammates were flying to Venezuela, Xavi was busy watching the MotoGP in Montmeló. He met up with Valentino Rossi, who surprised everyone by kneeling down in front of Xavi and pretending to shine his boots as a tribute. Here’s a photo of Xavi looking super smooth and cool in his shades.