in the wonderful world of La Roja
Interviews, the training session, tweeted pics and more!
The RFEF interviewed the six U-21 Euro champions currently on the senior team yesterday, and since Javi Martínez (!!!) is involved, I have to write about it.
Javi Martínez (!!!) and Juan Mata were already members of the senior team when they returned to the U-21 team to lend a hand in the 2011 U-21 Euro, where a berth in next year’s Olympic Games was also up for grabs. They accomplished both those goals in a total team effort, and today, four of their teammates from that team have joined them on the senior team: Thiago, who debuted against Italy last month in his first ever call-up, and three of the four starting defenders: Álvaro Domínguez, Alberto Botía and Martín Montoya. Anyway, here are their thoughts on this situation.
Javi (!!!) and his popped collar: I believe that el míster is rewarding us a bit for the work that we did in the lower categories, not only for the U-21 Euro, but starting from many years ago. It’s a reward for all the hard work and a sign that he’s going to count on the people that make their ways through the ranks. Those lips (!!!) !!!
Juanín: on my first day, they told me to enjoy myself and take advantage of this opportunity, and so I’m passing this advice on to them. It’s a good sign that six of us are present in this call-up, because it shows that there’s a great generation and because this is reflected in the senior team. In addition, the coach has shown that he knows all the players that come from the lower ranks and has confidence in them.
Álvaro: being with these players is special and I hope to be able to enjoy myself. Being here with five of my former teammates makes things much easier.
Alberto: you have to notice the gesture that Vicente had, calling up people from the U-21 team. This is an incentive for those boys in the lower categories to continue fighting and working to improve.
Martín: the coaches gave me a great opportunity, and I’m only thinking about taking advantage of it, to learn from all these people that are here because they are marvelous. I hope this is the first of many call-ups.
Thiago: it’s great to be called up again, not only with the senior team, but also all the lower categories that I played in. It’s always great to wear the shirt of Spain both for the titles that they have won and for the teammates that are here. It’s great to share this moment with five of the teammates that were out there on the field in Aarhus.
Work it Xabi! Spain held a training session yesterday afternoon at Las Rozas, starting preparations for their two upcoming games, a friendly against Chile on Friday and the Euro qualifier against Liechtenstein on Tuesday. VDB tried out Javi Martínez (!!!) as a centerback, so his defensive line was made up of Javi (!!!), Sergio, Raúl Albiol and Álvaro Arbeloa.
The rest of the probable starting team against Chile had Iker in goal, Busquets, Xabi and Xavi in the midfield, Villa and Silva on the wings and Negredo as the “nine.” VDB also tried out Álvaro Domínguez as a leftback on the team of substitutes, with the two sides playing a mini-game. The game ended 2-2, with Negredo and Silva scoring for the starters and PF Juan Mata scoring twice for the subs. Around 2,000 persons watched the one-hour long session.
The boys also tweeted a bunch of adorable pics on the bus ride from Las Rozas to the Hotel Melía Barajas, where they stayed the night, as they had a 09h flight to Zurich this morning. From Zurich, they’ll drive to Saint Gallen, the site of tomorrow’s game. They’ll train tonight at 19h. I knew that Sergio and his thumbs up would find some victim, though I couldn’t have predicted that it would be PF Juan Mata (who is cool enough not to copy Sergio). But I did have an inkling that Álvaro Domínguez would tweet a picture of him with Fernando Torres, given that he had said as soon as he showed up in Las Rozas that he was looking forward to seeing his former teammate. The Thiago-Martín pairing is unsurprising as well.
And Iker provided this photo of Raúl Albiol and Santi Cazorla once on the ground in Switzerland. Zipi and Zape didn’t sit together? And Cesc tweeted that he’s playing Parchís with Pedro, Xavi and Floris (Fernando Llorente), and that he’s a total disaster! Despite that, Cesc ended up winning the “impossible game” pissing Pedro off, because he thought he already had the game in hand.
Both Xabi and Pepe Reina spoke to radio programs last night. Xabi spoke with Onda Cero’s “Al Primer Toque” program about the effect of los clásicos on the national team: “the less people speak about it, the faster things can get back to normal. Logically, when we play with our clubs, we defend our own interests, but later on when you’re on the same team… the atmosphere is comfortable, there aren’t problems with anyone. There’s much more normality than there appears to be for everything that has been written or said. I feel comfortable here and it’s a pleasure to be here.”
And Pepe Reina, in a chat with SER’s “El Larguero,” said that everything is good with the national team, “but it seems that no matter what we say, people don’t want to believe things are good.” He also revealed that Xavi, David Villa and Fernando Llorente didn’t bring him any presents when he had his birthday dinner the other night, and that they had a great time. Pepe was asked about his family, and he joked that he and wife Yolanda “are going for a volleyball team, because it’s very cold in England and so we spend a lot of time indoors watching TV.” Pepe also said that three-month old Luca is a very well-behaved baby.
La Rojita plays tonight against Georgia in their 2013 U-21 Euro qualifier at 18:30h Spain time, so good luck to them! Iker Muniain is so tiny! And I love that Juan Carlos tweeted a photo of him in a bathrobe this morning… and that Ander Herrera tweeted that he’s missing the U-21 team and wishes them luck tonight.
Over in Logroño, the site of Tuesday’s Euro qualifier, tickets for the game sold out in less than eight hours. People started lining up the night before at Las Gaunas, with their cards, music, games, waiting for the box office to open at 10h. The stadium seats almost 16,000, and around 4,500 tickets were made available to the public and sold yesterday. Socios of UD Logroñés (who owns the stadium) had the right to purchase tickets before anyone else, and they snapped up 5,000. The rest of the seats were distributed among various football clubs, and reserved for the RFEF, for Liechtenstein’s supporters and for UD Logroñés. The last (and first) time the national team played in Logroño was on Oct. 16, 2002, when Spain took on Paraguay in a game that ended 0-0.
Speaking of stadiums, the Estadio Fernando Torres will be inaugurated today in Fuenlabrada, when it hosts its first ever game, against Fernando’s second team, Atlético. As he’s on national team duty, Fernando won’t be able to partake in the various events scheduled for the inauguration, but his parents will be on hand to do the ceremonial kick-off. He looked a bit sleepy at yesterday’s training session, no?
Posted on September 1, 2011, in interviews, la rojita, players, training and tagged albiol, botía, cazorla, cesc, domínguez, javi, mata, montoya, pepe, sergio, thiago, torres, xabi. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.