the road to the 2012 Eurocopa starts here
Like many of us, Sergio and Iker watched the draw for next year’s Eurocopa on Friday afternoon. Spain was drawn in Group C, along with Ireland, Croatia and Italy. Thus, our defense of Iker’s favorite trophy will begin in Gdansk, Poland. And Iker was obviously forced into posing like this by Sergio.
A representative from each past winning Eurocopa team was on hand to help with the draw, and for Spain, that meant Luis Suárez from the 1964 edition and Joan Capdevila from the 2008 edition. Joan’s hair looks very neat; it makes him look younger.
Spain will be playing in Poland during the first round, concretely in Gdansk. The schedule is as follows: Spain vs. Italy on June 10 (18h), Spain vs. Ireland on June 14 (20:45h) and Spain vs. Croatia on June 18 (20:45h). They’ll set up camp starting on June 5 in Gniewino, which is 40 kilometers away from Gdansk. This was their first choice, and they had already made reservations there (Ireland had the same idea, but was a step behind Spain in making reservations). A team is now in Gniewino finalizing all the details about the hotel and training grounds.
Vicente del Bosque will reveal the list of players called up for the tournament on May 15. The concentración will begin on the Monday after that. Any player whose team qualifies for the final of the Copa del Rey (May 19) or the Champions League (May 25) will join their teammates on May 28.
Following the draw, Vicente del Bosque said the group was neither easy nor impossible, and praised Spain’s rivals: “easy? I don’t think Italy is an easy rival. They beat us 2-1 in Bari. And Croatia and Ireland qualified with a lot of authority in the playoffs.” Our coach added that “we’re going to fight, we should be respectful as good sportsmen are, we should respect the rivals and we’ll see if we’re capable of this challenge of winning the Eurocopa-World Cup-Eurocopa.”
We also got some reactions from the players. On twitter, Sergio said he was happy with the group, and that “having too much confidence would be a mistake.” On Facebook, Iker wrote that “we can never be overconfident, and we have to have the maximum respect towards the three other teams. We know that we have to defend the title won four years ago in each game. I’m sure it will be an emotional tournament, there are many great teams that will bring us great games.” He finished off by joking that “I’m relieved not to have to face Brazil.” And Cesc tweeted, “Difficult group.”
Fernando Llorente described the group as “complicated, especially because the first game is against Italy. It won’t be easy at all and the rest of the tournament will depend on the result of that game.” He also said he would fight to be on the list of players called up.
Santi Cazorla said things along the same lines: “it’s a complicated group. Italy is a great team with great players and we’re going to have to do everything well to pass. After all that we achieved, I’m sure we’re going to be considered the favorites and it’s a role that we have to assume. In a competition like this, we can’t make any errors and I hope we can achieve another success.” Santi also stressed the importance of winning the first game because “in the World Cup they lost the first one and the nervousness began. It’s important to beat Italy to be more tranquil.”
Álvaro Negredo also spoke about the difficulties, “because in a competition as big as the Eurocopa, there aren’t any easy rivals.”
Jordi Alba said that Italy would be the strongest rival, for its history, but that Spain is also someone to beat, as “since Spain is the champion, everyone wants to beat it. In the final rounds, everyone will be just as strong or stronger.”
Go here to play around with the possible paths of Spain to the final.