ICYMI – Spain vs. the Czech Republic
In case you missed it – the Czech Republic vs. Spain [2011-10-07, Euro 2012 qualifying, 0-2].
This 2-0 victory was the 21st consecutive one in terms of qualifiers, and also means that Spain has won all official games since the opening loss to Switzerland in the World Cup (13 games, 13 wins, with 31 goals in favor and only six against). Spain played so well in the first half that they didn’t have to foul until the 44th minute, when Raúl Albiol had to stop Baros on the right flank. The team made 1,149 passes during the game, compared to just 293 for the Czech Republic. Xavi and Xabi made more passes than their rivals combined, with 170 and 127, respectively. Spain had 80 percent possession during the first half and 77 percent during the second. The first half looked more like a rondo than a game.
ONE. It’s kind of fitting that Xabi’s bosses-in-training on his club team and national team are best friends, no? Because PF Juan Mata was muy jefe out there on Friday night. And Xavi had a partidazo as well.
TWO. On the morning before the game, the players took their usual morning paseo. It’s obvious that some can stand the cold better than others – just look at the two Fernandos! What a contrast. I like how all of them were distracted by the dog. I’m distracted by Javi (!!!) and how he walks. Meanwhile, the five players from Madrid strolled together, along with David Silva. Xabi looked quite boss, no?
With Gerard Piqué busy on the phone (probably with Shakira), Carles Puyol had to “settle” for walking with best friends Pepe Reina and David Villa. Meanwhile, the younger players walked together. Javi (!!!) is like a giant next to Thiago and Jordi!
THREE. The goals can both be described as great finishes from great passes.
I love how Álvaro Arbeloa decided to jump onto the pile. He really got some height in his jump! Must be a superhero ability…
Just look at that elegance with which Xabi sweeps the ball into the net. Xabi is the second highest goalscorer on the team in the Del Bosque era, with 11 goals, one more than forward Fernando Torres. Only David Villa has scored more goals than Xabi in this time.
FOUR. Everyone on the bench looked really cold, especially Fernando Llorente and Santi. The three players cut from the game day list were Jordi Alba, Víctor Valdés and Pedro. Javi (!!!) looks easily distracted, no?
FIVE. In the 69th minute, Xabi Alonso suffered a horrific tackle from Tomáš Hübschman, which left Xabi writhing in pain, Hübschman expelled and fans flashing back to De Jong’s karate kick in the World Cup final. (Why is everyone gunning for Xabi? Is it because he’s so good?) On the bench, Pepe leapt up, while Thiago and Santi gaped in astonishment. Fernando Torres didn’t change expression. And Miguel Gutiérrez could see it was bad, as he got up immediately and headed for his equipment.
On the field, Sergio Busquets immediately recriminated the Czech player for the hard tackle, imitating him, while Puyol and Arbeloa also rushed in towards the referee. Xabi looked to be in a lot of pain as he got up, with Álvaro patting him on the cheek.
He limped off the field, helped by the fisio and Dr. Celada. The only good thing out of this mess was the close-up looks at Xabi’s leg.
Everyone was concerned about Xabi.
After the game, Xabi said, “I couldn’t really protect myself, but I saw him coming and so greater damage was avoided. It left me with my shinguard around the ankle… I was frightened by how violent the tackle was. It left me in a lot of pain, but I saw an image of it and it could have been much worse.” The team’s doctors said that Xabi was left with a big bruise on the inside of his right leg and cuts from the studs on the boot of the rival player.
SIX. David Villa didn’t seem to be too comfortable with his new hairstyle yet, as he kept messing around with it while waiting to be subbed in. In the end, he smoothed it down so much that it looked like a cap.
SEVEN. Sergio was subbed out at the half as a precaution due to pain in his left thigh, which was subsequently treated with massage (again, I have the wrong job). Both he and Xabi will continue on in the concentración. On the plus side, his hair looked fantastic – as usual – during the game.
EIGHT. It was also great to see Puyol back, after 11 months away from La Roja, during which he was sorely missed. He came in for Sergio at the half, receiving a high five from Álvaro Arbeloa before he began
dancing marking his territory.
NINE. It looks like ARBELOAMAN’s superhero friends made it to the game!
TEN. As for Fernando Torres, he has the second worst goal scoring average in the history of La Roja forwards, with one goal every 187 minutes. Only Emilio Butragueño has a worse one, with one every 209 minutes. The forward with the best average is Isidro Lángara, who scored a goal every 63 minutes, followed by Telmo Zarra with one every 88 minutes, Morientes with one every 92 minutes, and Villa with one every 109 minutes. On the plus side, Torres has some cheekbones, no?
ELEVEN. Javi Martínez (!!!) came in for Xabi Alonso in the 70th minute.
Javi (!!!) doesn’t need to do anything other than run or even move (or breathe, for that matter) to make the moment interesting for me.
I would have loved to see him score his first goal with La Roja!!!
TWELVE. I never knew that Iker and Petr Cech were friends, and that Cech could speak Spanish (in addition to Czech, English and Portuguese! And some of our boys have trouble learning just one more language…).
THIRTEEN. After the game, VDB expressed how proud he was of the game that his boys had played, and said he was happy to see Carles Puyol back in action. He also said he would try to give everyone who hasn’t played so far playing time in the next game. As for Fernando Torres, VDB was optimistic, and he also said Mata and Silva were “very important” and “had a great game.”
FOURTEEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
Since David Silva and Xavi hijacked Xabi’s favorite pose, he decided not to do it. Always a trendsetter and an original.
FIFTEEN. These little puppets were on sale in Prague, and Manolo Lama bought a Puyol one.
SIXTEEN. Following the game, the team had dinner, finishing around 01h in the morning. Seven hours later, they were having breakfast and getting ready to head to the airport. The team arrived back in Madrid around 13h on Saturday, and the players were off until Sunday morning. VDB even gave them the option to not have to stay at the residence in Las Rozas on Saturday night, which should have made Iker happy.
Xabi looked to be walking normally as the team landed in Barajas on Saturday morning, which is a good sign. And Sergio’s hair continued to look good. Meanwhile, Thiago enjoyed his music. Plus, I love Javi’s (!!!) lime green laptop cover, and his messy hair. And Javi (!!!) himself of course.
I have to say, I really like these new outfits a lot, they’re much more elegant than the tracksuits.
SEVENTEEN. Raúl Albiol hung out with Cuatro on the morning of the game, during which he called El Niño a “phenomenon,” said he’s happy Puyol is back knowing how much he suffered, and made fun of Santi Cazorla. When he saw Santi, he told the cameraman to lower the camera, as to capture Santi, who had an adorable reaction. El Chori also filled out a mini-questionnaire.
In June, I want to be in… the Eurocopa. This year, I’m going to play… a lot. This year, Real Madrid is going to win… the Liga and Champions. Mourinho is… my coach. Del Bosque is… my other coach. The next Eurocopa is being played in… Poland and Ukraine (they should have asked him what animals he expects to see there). Those from Barça and Madrid get along… WELL.
I love how Raúl wrote the “well” (“bien” in Spanish) in huge letters to emphasize that point. And does he always write in all capital letters?
EIGHTEEN. Other notes.
Iker recommended this song by Bongo Botrako, “Todos los días sale el sol,” on his Facebook. He said he listened to it for the first time and had it running through his head for the rest of the day, ending his post with “Chipironeeeeeeeeeessssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Doesn’t Iker know that this was the song of the Spanish national basketball team during their winning 2011 Euro campaign, and that the players changed the word “chipirón” to “Felipón” to cheer up teammate Felipe Reyes, whose father had passed away suddenly right before the tournament?
The team will debut their new shirt, the one they will wear in next year’s Eurocopa, on Nov. 9 at the Ciudad del Fútbol. Please, please let there be a fashion show! They will wear this shirt for the first time in their friendly against England, which will be on either Nov. 11 or 12 (the day depends on when the RFEF can schedule a Copa del Rey game for Barcelona, which was brought forward due to their participation in the Club World Cup). Spain will also play Costa Rica in a friendly on Nov. 15. Can we also expect something like this again?
Posted on October 9, 2011, in games and tagged alba, albiol, arbeloa, busquets, cazorla, del bosque, iker, javi, llorente, mata, pepe, piqué, puyol, sergio, silva, thiago, torres, villa, xabi. Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.