La Rojita’s in the final!!
In the end, the suffering was worth it.* Last night in Viborg, Belarus scored a lucky goal late in the first half and it took Spain until the very final moments of the second half (concretely, the 89th minute) to equalize, though they came agonizingly close at various moments throughout the game. Adrián scored that one, and in the overtime he added another (again, in the last moments of the first half of the extra time) and Jeffren also chipped in to cap off their comeback. Javi Martínez (!!!) had a spectacular game, no matter what position he was playing (he switched throughout the game according to the team’s needs). The final result was 3-1, and Spain will meet Switzerland in Saturday’s final. The win also meant that Spain qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games, the tenth time the country will play football in the Olympics (Spain has one gold medal and two silver medals from those 10 appearances).
* every bit of suffering was worth it just to see that Iker Muniain-Thiago dance at the end, no?
This team showed they are as much of a piña as the senior team.
And the goal celebrations were worthy of those magnificent goals. I loved that everyone on the bench, including non-players, ran to join in. Again, I’m reminded of the senior team, concretely one goal that also came in an extra time, which ended up with the players – both those on the field and those on the bench – forming a pile in the left hand corner.
And if that’s not enough, there was the sportsmanship. I loved that some of our players, including Javi (!!!), Juanín, Adrián, Thiago and Rubén Pérez consoled the Belorussians after the game, because it really was a devastating loss for them, since they were only one minute away from advancing to the final. Some of the boys wanted to exchange shirts with their counterparts, but the Belorussian team couldn’t, because their federation had told them that they would have to pay for the shirts if they gave them away, so in the end, the exchange was just one-sided, with Spain giving their shirts to the rivals.
In a postgame interview with COPE, PF Juanín Mata (Adrián was interviewed along with him) revealed that Emilio Nsue is the DJ of La Rojita, and he puts whatever music he wants, usually “Latin rhythms,” during meals and on the bus. Meanwhile, Iker Muniain is the “monologist… he takes the microphone and talks about everyone.” And David de Gea remarked, “we have an angel named Adrián.”
The obligatory Javi Martínez (!!!) section, pouts and all, with a focus on those lips.
And some tweets.
Ander wins the night’s tweeting award, with this picture of him in a backwards jersey and NO shorts (reminiscent of La Roja celebrating the Euro 2008 win, no?) with Thiago (also in a backwards jersey), Iker Muniain (with what looks like a bufanda around his head) and Dieguito “Bisbal” Capel. Let’s hope Ander does things like this from Athletic’s locker room next season, no? This photo is also award winning because of the different hand gesture.
Meanwhile, Thiago gifted us with this photo of him and Capel. It’s a time to be happy, so I’ll forgive the pose.
The other assorted tweets were all along these lines, expressing the “alegría” over the qualification for the Olympic Games and for the final of the U-21 Euro. Álvaro Domínguez tweeted, “what a way to suffer, what a way to sing and what a way to win!!!” David de Gea’s take was, “spectacular comeback, the suffering was incredible. Thanks to everyone for the support. To the final!!” And Juanín wrote, “Vamos!! We achieved the first objective, the Olympic Games in London! Congratulations team! Now, we’ll try and win the final!”
And congratulatory tweets came in from members of La Roja and La Rojita as well. I loved Sergio Canales’ tweet, which said that Thiago and Iker Muniain were “huge small guys” (more or less). Cesc congratulated the team in his tweet and had a special mention for Javi Martínez (!!!), while Gerard Piqué also congratulated the team, calling them “cracks.” Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente posted on his Facebook his congratulations for the team, especially his “teammate Iker Muniain” (but Fer, you have three more teammates on La Rojita, what about them?).
And Juanín also tweeted this photo of him and fellow Asturian, his roommate during this concentración, pichichi and man of the match Adrián.