in case you missed it – Spain vs. Chile
In case you missed it – Spain vs. Chile [2011-09-02, friendly, 3-2].
Andrés Iniesta and Cesc came to the rescue as Spain had to make a comeback to beat Chile 3-2 in Switzerland on Friday. Spain, extending its streak of poor performances in friendlies, looked quite awful during the first half, especially the defense (I’m sorry to say, because Javi (!!!) was back there) and Chile took full advantage, scoring twice in the first 20 minutes. Some changes were made at the half, allowing Spain to mount a comeback. As Javi (!!!) said, “I enjoyed myself in the second half watching Andrés.” And I enjoyed watching Iker and Javi (!!!).
ONE. As you know, I love pre-game moments. Before this game, we had Sergio giving high-fives to his teammates and the boys sharing a few jokes.
Javi (!!!) spent that time pouting away. He does that so well.
TWO. The boys during the national anthem.
This is the hottest team in the world.
THREE. Prior to the game, Iker showed off that Perfect Profile, and Sergio warmed up with a few kicks.
FOUR. Iker looked so sad after Chile went up 2-0, I wanted to rush onto the field to comfort him. And since I’d have to pass by Javi (!!!) on the way to Iker, I’d take the opportunity to give him a hug (or more) too.
FIVE. Luckily, that sadness didn’t last too long, as Spain mounted a comeback, starting with Andrés Ineista’s golazo, which he dedicated to Valeria.
Spain’s second goal was also a work of art, but part of the celebration was my favorite piece of it – Javi (!!!) gave a little tug to Cesc’ ear!!!
And to finish the comeback, Cesc converted on a (undeserved) penalty, which the entire team celebrated. Cesc had the nice gesture of going over to Claudio Bravo to give him a high five.
And Javi (!!!) continued being all affectionate with Cesc. As stated earlier, for the first goal, he had tugged on Cesc’ ear. For the second, he stroked the back of Cesc’ neck. Well, this is the first time I’ve ever wanted to be Cesc.
SIX. David Silva was all feisty during the game, from shooting darts with his eyes at the referee to taking exception with one of the Chilean players. Meanwhile, David Villa remained quite calm for the duration of the game.
Speaking of the Davids, Silva has the flags of the Canary Islands and Spain on his boots, and Villa returned to using hair gel, so he looked more like himself.
SEVEN. Javi Martínez (!!!), front and back. And I really wouldn’t mind having Javi (!!!) defend me, or having to defend Javi (!!!). As Friday was Javi (!!!)’s birthday, he received many calls from friends and family during the day. He spoke with COPE after the game, and when asked whether he had received any presents from his teammates, he said, “whatever, nothing!” and went on to explain that the majority of his teammates didn’t know it was his birthday, and it was enough for him just to receive birthday wishes.
EIGHT. The players who were subbed out at the half, such as Xabi, Villa or Iker, took a shower and re-appeared on the bench in the second half with street clothes. I loved the moment when Silva came off and Fernando Llorente stretched as far as he could to give him a high five, followed by Negredo and Iker.
NINE. There were four captains on Friday night. Iker was the first one…
… and the armband passed to Xavi after Iker was subbed out at the half. When it came time for Xavi to take a seat, he gave the armband to Cesc to give to Sergio.
Sergio wore it for about five minutes, and then someone must have alerted him that Fernando Torres was actually the captain out there, so in the 69th minute, the armband was passed on.
ELEVEN. The game might be remembered for the fight that broke out at the very end. It was dubbed by the media as “the fight of union,” “the fight of reconciliation” or “the fight of peace” because what happened was this: Iniesta got into an argument with Vidal. Arbeloa stepped in to defend his teammate, and ended up getting shoved around by the Chileans. So Busquets came charging up, running around several players to get to one of the players that had been arguing with Arbeloa to shove him in the back. And of course, Sergio Ramos and Víctor Valdés (shirt and gloves in hand) had to get involved, because it wouldn’t be a fight without them. The media only saw that Real Madrid and Barcelona players were actually defending each other, although practically the entire Spain team was out there, including the players on the bench. The referee ended the game after things cooled off, though Pepe ended up having to pull Iker who was in turn pulling Cesc to get him off the field. Iker kept his grip around Cesc’ arm to make sure he wouldn’t go back out there. Not our best moment. Plus, the tangana deprived us of possible shirtless moments. Bad.
After the game, Andrés Iniesta said, in response to a question about whether the fight “united” them, “it showed that we get along. You have to stop feeding that debate about whether there’s a bad atmosphere. We defend each other playing football and helping each other when there are disputes.”
TWELVE. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
THIRTEEN. After the game, Vicente del Bosque talked about the lack of a defensive attitude, and how Spain couldn’t have played worse in the first half. He added, “the quality of our players in the attack was important but without any defensive intensity, it’s difficult to play.”
Meanwhile, one of the men of the match, Cesc, said, “I haven’t been this happy for a while. I’m in a great moment and let’s see if I can take advantage of it by playing minutes with the national team.” He also said, “I wasn’t the protagonist. It was Iniesta who changed the game. When Andrés has the ball, you know that something different is going to happen.”
FOURTEEN. Other notes.
– Spain took a walk in the morning, and VDB took the time to go over game strategy with his two field generals, Sergio Busquets and Xabi Alonso.
– the comeback win against Chile marked the third time that Spain had to make a comeback from two goals down to win the game. The two previous times were a 4-3 win against England in 1929 and the 3-2 win against Macedonia in 2009.
– Xavi became the third-most capped player in Spain’s history as this game was his 102nd. He tied Raúl for third place (and first place for most games for a field player), and is behind Zubi with 126 and Iker at 123 (and counting). Xavi debuted with the senior team on Nov. 15, 2000 against the Netherlands, but it was a bittersweet debut as Spain lost 1-2. Since then, he’s scored nine goals, including the 1,000th goal of the Spanish national team. He’s won the World Cup, the Eurocopa, the U-20 World Cup and a silver medal from the Olympic Games.
– there were three new players called up for this game and the next one, but no one made their debut, as the situation mandated that VDB use experienced, veteran players. This meant that Botía, Domínguez and Montoya will have to wait a bit longer before they can debut, which could come as early as Tuesday against Liechtenstein. Thiago is also expected to play, as that will cement his international future to Spain.
– this was unfortunate for Alberto Botía’s family, as his parents, brother, brother-in-law and a friend has traveled a long distance to see his possible debut: they went from Murcia to Valencia by car, flew to Zurich and took a bus to Saint Gallen. They then had to do that trek in reverse to get back to Spain, and with the added disappointment of not seeing Alberto play.
– the tie between Scotland and the Czech Republic on Saturday means that if Spain wins on Tuesday against Liechtenstein, we mathematically qualify for the Euro.
FIFTEEN. The team arrived back in Spain on Saturday around noon, and got the day off before resuming training on Sunday with a double session at Las Rozas. Javi (!!!) must not have a lot in his suitcase for him to swing it around like that (by the way, it’s his official Athletic suitcase, and since everyone else on his team has the same one, he wrote a big “24” on his).
Later that day, Cesc tweeted this photo of him having lunch with his friends. If only we all could have friends who are Iniesta, Valdés, Pedro and Busquets.
Meanwhile, some of the other players also had lunch together: Álvaro Arbeloa, Raúl Albiol and Juan Mata (“Matita” according to Arbeloa; PF has so many nicknames, no?), who joined Esteban Granero, José María Callejón and Madrid’s head of press Óscar Ribot for lunch. Esteban tweeted this photo and the boys subsequently had a little banter via twitter over who was going to pay.
By the way, it’s Raúl Albiol’s birthday today! ¡Felicidades Chori! So many birthdays during this international break, no?
SIXTEEN. A social media update.
Fernando Llorente tweeted that he’s looking forward to the game in Logroño, since it will be a special one “because we’re playing in my land [La Rioja], close to my hometown and many friends and family will come to see me.” On his Facebook, he wrote something similar, but added, “today is the birthday of my teammate Javi Martínez, congratulations crack!!” Speaking of Javi (!!!), he also said that he will have family going to the game, as Ayegui is only about 50 kilometers away from Logroño. El Rincón de Soto is even further away at 70 km, despite being in the same province.
Meanwhile, Iker posted this photo on his Facebook from the morning walk. In it, he, Pepe, Xavi and Llorente pose with the very typical verdant Swiss landscape behind them.
Pepe posted that same photo, joking, “walking around in Switzerland, I ran into these guys… very nice people… do you know who they are?” He also posted a different photo from that same walk, with just him and Floris, whom he called “one of my brothers from the NT.” And I’m going to say that Pepe wrote the following message on his FB in a rush, because I’m sure his English is better than this: “I love to see how you post me. Continue posting me, because I read you…”
It appeared that everyone (and who can blame them?) wanted a piece of Floris, because Sergio also tweeted this picture with
his victim Fernando (too bad they couldn’t find a lion background), as did Cesc.
SEVENTEEN. As for the U-21 team, the non-starters on the U-21 team trained on Friday afternoon, while the starters got to enjoy the pools of their spa hotel. Jordi Amat had to leave the concentración after tests showed that he has a tear to one of the muscles in his left calf, which resulted in a small blood clot. He subsequently tweeted that he was in the airport in A Coruña, heading back to Barcelona, and “it’s been an honor and a pleasure to spend these days with the U-21 team! Lots of luck on Monday!”
On Saturday, the team took a walk after breakfast, around their hotel. In the afternoon, the team trained in Lugo for one hour and 15 minutes. They will have one more training session before Monday’s game.
The RFEF decided to spotlight Diego Mariño and Hugo Mallo, as they are both from Galicia, the site of Monday’s qualifier. Diego is from Vigo and Hugo from Marín, both in Pontevedra, so they are excited about the game. Diego said, “it’s an honor to play in Galicia. My family, my people, my friends will be in the stands, and I’m very excited to play here. It will be a very special game and it could be the last time I come with the national team to my homeland, so I’m very excited about it.” Meanwhile, Hugo declared, “it makes me happy to play here in Galicia, in front of my people. This is something that perhaps won’t happen again for some time, so you have to enjoy the moment and live the experience.”
And the RFEF also gave us a photo of the seven players that officially debuted with the U-21 team against Georgia: Hugo Mallo, Oriol Romeu, Carles Planas, Rodrigo, Isco, Iñigo Martínez and Jordi Amat (Jordi’s absent because he had already left) All of them with the exception of Iñigo had played in this summer’s U-20 World Cup. The majority have also played for the U-16, U-17, U-18 and U-19 teams.
The boys also spent a lot of time posing for each other’s twitpics.
Posted on September 4, 2011, in games, la rojita and tagged albiol, arbeloa, botía, busquets, cesc, del bosque, iker, iniesta, javi, llorente, pepe, sergio, silva, torres, valdés, villa, xabi, xavi. Bookmark the permalink. 32 Comments.