ICYMI – Spain vs. Scotland

In case you missed it – Spain vs. Scotland [2011-10-11, Euro 2012 qualifying, 3-1].

There were six changes to the starting line-up compared to the last game against the Czech Republic, but it didn’t matter, because every single player on this team is so good.  There really is no line between starters and subs.  With this win, Spain went eight for eight in Euro 2012 qualifying, tied the Netherlands and France for the longest win streak in official games at 14, and became the first team to win all qualifiers for two consecutive tournaments, in this case the 2010 World Cup and the 2012 Eurocopa.

ONE.  All eyes were on these four men on Tuesday night (mine, however were on the bench, because that’s where Iker and Javi (!!!) were): David Silva, to see how he would do given a chance to start after his declarations, David Villa to see if he could score his 50th goal, Jordi Alba, who was getting his debut with the national team, and Víctor Valdés, who was debuting in an official game.

TWO.  As stated previously, Jordi Alba and Víctor Valdés were the debutants, as this was Jordi’s first game at the senior level, and VV’s first time as a starter in an official game.  Jordi became the 21st player to debut under VDB (the full list at the end of the post), and the 723rd player to play for Spain (no full list, sorry).  Jordi said after the game that he will keep his shirt (he wore the number “6”) and hang it up at home.

In addition, the partnership of Carles Puyol and Gerard Piqué was reestablished; the last time was just a little under a year ago, against Portugal.

THREE.  David Silva decided to let his play do all the talking, and I’m sure he ended up convincing Vicente del Bosque of his worth.  He had a fantastic game.  And David Villa scored his 50th goal with Spain.

The first goal was especially beautiful.  A total of 42 touches resulted in the first goal of the night, scored by David Silva.  The ball traveled 715 meters in that time.  No Scottish player touched the ball during one minute and 34 seconds, while all 11 of our players played a part.  And the Valencia connection really showed, as the two Davids and one Jordi teamed up to create this work of art.  As Javi (!!!) said after the game, “we enjoyed watching it.”

David’s hair bouncing up and down during the goal celebration is for some reason quite mesmerizing.  I love that David jumped into Jordi’s arms, though it was obvious that Jordi wouldn’t be able to support him, as one of the smallest players out there (not that David is much bigger).  So instead of supporting his weight, Jordi just went backwards.

Let’s hear it for the Davids!  It’s so sad that they had to be broken up.

The celebration for the second goal was a celebration for the bajitos: Santi, David, David, Xavi, Pedro, Jordi.  Only later on did the taller players join in.

Santi’s sunniness is so infectious, no?

And David Villa celebrated the third goal of the night, and the 50th in his career with Spain, by making the number “50” with his hands.

However, to everyone but him, it looked like “05.”

FOUR.  David Villa also debuted as La Roja’s captain, getting to boss the team around for 25 minutes after Xavi, who started the game as captain, was subbed out.  Villa was the captain as Iker, Xavi, Puyol, Xabi and Fernando Torres – all with more caps than Villa – were not on the field.  Both he and Sergio were playing in their 80th game, but Villa had precedence as he debuted with La Roja before Sergio (one month before) so he became the captain.

FIVE.  With Xabi out, Fernando Llorente picked up the posing slack, doing Xabi’s trademark hands on hips pose while waiting to check in.  And it doesn’t matter what Fer does, as long as he wears that tight shirt, he’s making the ICYMI post.

SIX.  I’m impressed.  Jordi’s a fast learner.  He knows what we like.

SEVEN.  Seriously, this bench… it would be any coach’s dream.  And any girl’s dream too.  There’s even a doctor at the end for good measure.

Iker showed off the Perfect Profile and some bad posture, and chatted with Xavi.  He also couldn’t get any greener.

EIGHT.  Besides that picture of Javi (!!!) on the bench, the other (televised) glimpses of him during the game were limited to when the team was standing for the national anthem, and when he left the bench at the end of the game.  Too little.

NINE.  Spanish footballers and their expressions: Santi’s innocent look, Pedro’s help me pose, with one leg in the air…

… David’s if looks could kill look, whose effectiveness has been softened with the flattening of his hair, and Sergio’s ¿qué? look.

TEN.  This was not only a successful game for the result, but also because many players stripped at the conclusion, including Piqué, Busquets, Villa, Sergio, Thiago and Pedro (though he put another shirt on immediately).

I love the parade of shirtless footballers behind Silvia and Jordi.

ELEVEN.  After the game, David Silva said he was happy for the two goals, and because things are going well for him in his club and with the national team.  He also said he will simply continue playing.  Meanwhile, Jordi said “today is a very happy day, and it was a dream debut, the experience was marvelous.”

Meanwhile, VDB said, “against Scotland, we looked for a solution to their two big defenders… and we put in a pequeñajo (Silva).”  He also said that Xavi had asked to be subbed out due to some pain, as he knew it was the last substitution, and that the fans had treated them wonderfully in Alicante.  With regards to Iker giving up his starting place for Valdés, the marquis said, “it’s psychologically healthy for the group to have everyone participate and for everyone to feel useful.”

TWELVE.  Other notes.

The two players ruled out on game day were Pepe and Xabi Alonso.  Álvaro Arbeloa was visited by the “vampires” after the game, tweeting that he was nauseous from the anti-doping tests.

The 21 footballers who have debuted with VDB are: Piqué, Iraola, Bojan, Capel, Busquets, Llorente, Mata, Diego López, Pablo, Monreal, Navas, Negredo, Pedro, Javi (!!!), Valdés, Bruno, Aduriz, Borja Valero, Manu del Moral, Thiago and now Jordi Alba.

Go here to watch Thiago and Villa do Punto Pelota’s test.

THIRTEEN.  In an interview with Mundo Deportivo, Gerard Piqué was asked the so very original question about what the atmosphere in the national team was like following the string of clásicos.  His response: “to tell you the truth, it’s great.  After those games, the atmosphere was a bit cold because we had come from four clásicos and many things had happened, but now the atmosphere is once again great.  I’ve always maintained that the Madrid players and the rest of the teammates are great people and there never should have been problems between us.  Everything that happened was due to something external to us.  During my first few times with the national team, the teammates from Real Madrid welcomed me with open arms and made things easier for me, just like those from the rest of the teams.  And if there was a bad atmosphere, it was more due to outside things than real problems between us.”

FOURTEEN.  Remember this picture from Monday?  It turns out that these players were filming a Christmas greeting for Adidas!  One of the salons in the hotel was converted into a provisional film set, and Villa, Xavi, Cazorla, Xabi, Llorente, Javi (!!!), Arbeloa and Silva were actors for the morning.  The main protagonist of the spot was David Villa, as this ad is called “Villancinco,” a play on words for the Spanish word for Christmas carol, villancico.  Maybe that’s why David Silva is making a five with his hand?  Anyway, the idea behind the spot is for the players to be in a typical press conference when Santi and Javi (!!!) invite Villa and three of these other players to sing a “Villancinco to encourage people to enter 2012 with La Roja.”

From that point on, they start singing traditional Christmas carols, familiar tunes but with revamped lyrics.  For example, the lyrics to this classic carol “Hacía Belén va una burra, rin, rin” (to Bethlehem goes a donkey) becomes “to 2012 we go, rin, rin.  The Eurocopa is here, the fans are here, we’re wearing red with many expectations, singing this Villancinco.  With you all we win everything, rin, rin, the World Cup, the Eurocopa, futbolín…”  Villa sings the lead, and tries to get the spectator to sing along to the chorus.  The spot ends with all the players together and Villa saying “we invite you to start the year with something red so that 2012 will bring you luck and all your hopes will come true.  It’s clear what ours is.”  I can’t wait to see this ad!

And while these eight players were busy filming, Iker was taking pictures of the Postiguet beach with his mobile phone.  As he was doing so, one hotel employee went up to him and said, “Casillas, come to Hércules, and you’ll have all this every day.”  Iker responded with a smile, “well yes, I’ll think about it if they make me an offer, because what you all have is special.”

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Posted on October 13, 2011, in games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 34 Comments.

  1. Una, I JUST DIED OF HAPPINESS FROM THIS POST.

    I CAN’T WAIT FOR CHRISTMAS!!! VILLA, XAVI, SANTI, JAVI… all of them singing Christmas carols together is like a dream!!!!!!!!!! If life sucks, now I have a reason to live. (I’m being melodramatic, but OMG, I’M SO EXCITED!!!)

    That, and the shirtless gifs!!! Thanks Una, for combusting me with joy…

  2. look at the vila’s expression when he got the armband from xavi, seems he not interested (or confused) took the responsibility

  3. lmao, can’t wait to hear Xabi singing, I wonder if they’ll autotune him :P

    as a madridista the 0 5 Villa did with his hands threw me off at first, he should have practised it. xD

  4. La Roja played so well in this game! And I’m so happy for David Silva! He was amazing during the whole game and I’m sure he impressed VDB.

    I have to admit that I really appreciated the Scottish players asking to exchange so many shirts with our players. That was a great end to a great match.

    I keep staring at that gif of Iker and Fernando on the bench. Iker’s profile is just incredible. And it was good to see Nando smiling and laughing on the bench compared to his scowl from when he was in the stands against Liechtenstein.

    I’m so excited for that Christmas video for Adidas!

  5. These last two matches have been pretty fun to watch. La Roja basically gave the rest of the world a clinic on ball handling and winning back possession. It’s nice to see who can come in and have an impact, too. Granted, the teams they have faced aren’t Germany or ND, but they performed excellently, regardless.
    The goals were amazing. 42 passes! If my kid’s premier team could string together 4 passes, we’d be happy. Sergio’s interception in the box that kept the Scottish player from scoring in the closing minutes of the game was pure class. I would like to ask our coach to make watching these matches a mandatory homework assignment for the girls.
    I loved when the cameraman focused in on Iker looking all slouchy, rubbing his tummy. Oh, to be on that bench… I’d rub that tummy for him… He wouldn’t even have to ask.

  6. –What a perfect debut for Jordi Alba! A strong performance and a goal assist in his first appearance. Good for him. Albiol should be a little worried.
    –This is the game that proved that Spain can play well without the two-DM system that VDB favours. The speed of the ball circulation between Busi, Xavi, Santi, and Silva was preposterous. Scotland hardly got a look in until Xavi & Silva were subbed off. And speaking of which.
    –What a fantastic game for David Silva! Even if he hadn’t scored twice, he was absolutely brilliant from start to finish. VDB must have sleepless nights trying to figure out how to give all these talented players the minutes they deserve.
    –Valdes will be unhappy not to have kept a clean sheet, but it was his own fault. He had an excellent game up until that silly penalty.
    –Santi Cazorla was very unlucky not to score, an excellent game for him as well. And yes, he is adorable. I commented on another site that he has a smile that could drop a unicorn in its tracks.
    –Una, I am disappointed in you! There was a cute moment where Puyol patted The Ramos on the posterior in passing, and I was sure you would have captured it for posterity (see what I did there?).
    –Villa with 50 goals!!!!!! And wearing the armband at the end!!!!
    –And this will be unpopular, but—right now I think Spain plays better without Torres. Not because he is off form, but because Spain doesn’t need a classic Centre Forward. The Spanish game right now depends on possession, fast circulation of the ball, and off-the-ball movement to open up space. Torres is good at that last one but not so much the first two. Silva, Mata, Santi, Iniesta, Fabregas & Thiago (all technically midfielders who are capable of playing up front) are good at all three. Add Pedro or Navas as a winger, plus Villa out left, and I just don’t see any need for Torres. Or Llorente either. Not to say they are useless, they provide other options. I just think we saw Spain’s best tactical formation in this last game.

    • Why should Albiol be worried?

      • Because Alba may turn out to be the long-term solution for VDB’s left-back problem, meaning Albiol gets benched. It may happen sooner rather than later if he doesn’t get a reasonable amount of playing time at Madrid.

      • yes why should albiol be worried, jordi position is a wingback place that used to be occupied by capdevlla or iraola while albiol is a fullback that alternately with puyol

        • I could have sworn that Albiol played as LB in the previous game. Maybe I was mistaken. Anyway, I think we will be seeing a lot more of Alba in the future.

  7. i loved:
    A. silva’s 2nd goal celebration, when he jumped on santi and in slow-mo, it looked like they were dancing on ice!
    B. how sergio got the smallest baby during the anthems
    C. pique’s impressive steps to maturity
    i didn’t like:
    A. the fact that iker is always trying to give serious and captain-like answers even when he’s not in an interview

  8. Great game for Davids! All their goals were a joy to watch.

    50 goals off 80 games is phenomenally impressive strike rate! May he get his 75 off of 100 soon!

  9. The 41 passes that led to the team goal (Silva’s first) is on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77Tu4toTypY&feature=player_embedded

  10. Omg Jordi Alba is.. just perfect! Hope he’ll stay in Valencia for many years :D

  11. Yes!! The shirtless edition! You don’t name your edition as your Madrid blog, but it deserves it, no? :p!

    I am just so happy for silva! The first goal was a beauty!!!

  12. can anyone pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeee translate the vedio of david villa and thiago???…i tried a lot but i coudn’t understand what they said

  13. The game was amazing. The boys were fabulous. LOL Villa 05 hahahah. Santi was so loving after each goal. What a great guy. Gracias Una. Can’t wait for the Xmas carole.

  14. Una thanks so much for this post with all the Villa and La Roja goodness. So happy he got to be captain the day he scored his 50th goal.

    And I cannot wait for Christmas!

  15. ahhh una! how I so love your recaps! i can never thank you enough! :o) gracias!!

    my favorite in this recap: “Seriously, this bench… it would be any coach’s dream. And any girl’s dream too. There’s even a doctor at the end for good measure.”

  16. Hmmm, did any of you notice Mata’s left hand in that bench photo? Oh, my !

  17. okay Una, I’ve been following your blog for over a year and I just gotta know one thing! (and a one-word-answer will do, I don’t need an explanation)

    You are stuck on an island with either Iker OR Javi (!!!). Which one would you pick? :)

  18. hey una, great post as always! do you maybe have pictures/videos of the reactions from the bench to the goals? thanks!

  19. Amazing post!!!

    I love every bit of it, especially gifs. Goals and shirtlessness are always appreciated, so is the nice shiny hair of Sergio;-)

    Silva is a cutie, I am very happy for his goals, this first one was amazing, what a team!

    and Santi is the sunshine just like Marcelo is a sunshine in RM. they both seem to deliver positive attitude to everyone, I can;t help but smile whenever I see Santi!

    Pique shirtless makes even my RM fan’s heart melt, wow.

    I missed Iker playing although I do agree that VV should have played this time. I missed Xabi. Fernando Llorente -bless his clothing choices on the pitch.

    Fernando Torres is so pretty (even though I cannot get over how he left Liverpool and I do not enjoy the fact that his NT performances are far from best recently….)

    that is all I have to say. I’d better go back to work than. ;-))

  20. This made my day!!! :D :D Thank you so much! :D

  21. I don’t know what I love more … The comments or your post …

    Thanx Una!! ( i couldn’t stop laughing or smiling )

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