ICYMI – Spain vs. Venezuela
In case you missed it – Spain vs. Venezuela [2012-02-09, international friendly, 5-0].
Did this game satisfy your craving for La Roja? Were you happy with the result? Are you excited about Euro 2012? For me, the answers are yes and no (great game, but no Javi (!!!), yes, and yes!!
ONE. I always love watching the players while the national anthem is playing, and I always wonder what they are thinking in that moment. Anyway, right after the hymn ended, the cameras cut to the bench, where the substitutes were, and we got our first glimpse of Javi (!!!). Unfortunately, it was also practically the last.
TWO. I think this was just about the only moment during the game when the team was a bit uncoordinated. and not in sync with each other.
THREE. Some cute moments as the boys prepared for the kick off. Cesc kept asking if it was him (yes, you are the most adorable one), while Fer and David engaged in a little conversation.
FOUR. We barely had time to catch our breath after that fantastic first goal from Andrés Iniesta, which he seems to have dedicated to his Valeria, when David Silva scored another!
Here’s how that goal came about, from 38 passes and two minutes of Spain’s trademark tiqui-taca. Graphic from Marca.
And then Roberto Soldado came in during the second half, and didn’t wait long to join the goal party (this time, it was an easy party). He ended up scoring a hat trick, and could have had four goals on the night had he not missed a penalty. What a way to open his account with Spain, and what a way to make a case for himself for the Eurocopa!
I loved how happy everyone was for Roberto! And Santi really does have the most adorable smile.
FIVE. We caught glimpses of the Álvaro Arbeloa-Roberto Soldado bromance throughout the game, from the little kiss when Roberto checked him, to the goal pass and subsequent jumping into Álvaro’s arms, to the little head nuzzling action. I’ll say it again, I absolutely love it when footballers remain such good friends even after they don’t play together anymore, and bonus points if their bromance started when they were youth players! There was also a lot of hugging between Roberto Soldado and Jordi Alba, which was adorable as well.
SIX. What a luxury bench, no? We are so lucky to have players of such caliber (and such cute ones too). And here’s the second glimpse of Javi (!!!) – you see that pair of hands between Iker Muniain and Pepe? Yes, that’s Javi (!!!).
That was in the first half, and during the second half, Fernando Llorente took Javi’s (!!!) place, so Javi (!!!) was sitting further to the right (if we’re looking at the bench).
SEVEN. Some fun player moments – Cesc shows off his cesc-y abs and Fer is concerned about that fabulous lion mane.
EIGHT. The game was already over before we saw Javi (!!!) again. He came onto the field to hug Iker Muniain and his other teammates. And two of the biggest stars on the night also hugged it out.
NINE. The overwhelming majority of you don’t seem to like the shirt, so is it better in black and white? And I have to say, I don’t like the font and typography of the names and numbers either. Plus, Fer’s shirt is simply not tight enough. Adidas got the arms right, but the body needs to be tighter, there’s too much extra fabric, as you can see. And since no one liked Iker’s shades of gray jersey (that means he must have had input, no?), here’s Iker in a much better and more familiar color during the warm-up.
TEN. Iker Muniain made his debut with the national team, a pretty nice feat for his first ever-call up. He played 15 minutes and even had some opportunities at goal. After the game, he said, “if this is not the most important moment, then it is one of the most important moments of my career. Playing with the national team is one of the most beautiful things that exists for a player. It’s a dream.”
I loved how excited everyone was for him, and how one of the utilleros had to help him remove his pants, how Pepe slapped the back of his neck, how Andoni helped him to pull his shirt down, plus all the encouragement, teasing and high-fives from teammates, doctors, fisios…
Muniain also revealed what VDB had said to him before he subbed in: “he told me that continue playing as I had and to position myself in the center, so that Xavi could give me good passes. That’s what I tried to do to take advantage of this situation.”
ELEVEN. TVE interviewed Iker Muniain and Roberto Soldado after the game, in that order. As Iker’s interview was winding down, Silvia requested to see his lucky Bart Simpson shinguards, and asked him if he would give them as a gift. Iker joked back, “I’ll exchange them for the game ball,” to which Roberto replied, “no, no” with a smile.
TWELVE. The entire team signed the game ball to congratulate Roberto on his hat trick. Here’s what was written; it’s so typical of these boys. Xabi: “that’s your passport to the Euro.” Alba: “congratulations killer!” Navas, Thiago and Xavi: “congratulations Rober/Robert, you deserve it.” Llorente: “congratulations tío, eres un puto killer.” Iniesta and Cazorla: “congratulations crack.” Pepe: “as much of an asshole as in pocha.” Sergio Ramos: “congratulations soldier [the word “soldier” was written in English, so help must have gone on, no?], continue like this, hopefully this won’t be the last time, hugs.” Muniain: “score one if you want, máquina.” Arbeloa: “grande Chancley. ¡Jugón, jugón!” [this took up one entire white circle]. Busquets: “congratulations Robert!”
THIRTEEN. After the game, Roberto Soldado told TVE that “it’s a dream to return to the national team in this way.” Meanwhile, Fernando Llorente said, “Soldado is a killer inside the area and he had a great day. You have to congratulate him. Our goal is to allow all those who came to watch us enjoy themselves.” And Iker was his usual modest self, despite tying Edwin Van der Sar for the most number of games without allowing any goals, 72, and being one away from tying Lilian Thuram for most wins with one’s national team, 94: “there will come the day when the records I’m breaking will be broken. They are nice things, but I’ll appreciate them more when I stop playing. What is actually important is that the national team continues to win. In addition, I would like to see great players continue coming from the lower categories, such as Muniain. Now, after many years as the only Iker, I look when I hear my name.”
Since Roberto was so much in demand in the mixed zone, all of the players were already on the bus and ready to leave while he was still talking. After waiting nearly an hour for him to board, they finally got impatient and sent Álvaro Arbeloa to go “rescue” him.
VDB was satisfied with his team’s performance after the game, saying, “we achieved our objectives. The team played well and no one was injured, the players demonstrated their talents.” Roberto Soldado came in for some extra praise: “he played very well,” while Iker Muniain was described like this: “he’s a boy who has self confidence.”
FOURTEEN. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
I love the ease with which Xabi removes clothing… Anyway, I also like how his shinguards just have a simple “Alonso” and “14” on them.
This has got to be one of my favorite poses. I love this one! And PF and Sergio are looking pretty good too!
FIFTEEN. On Thursday, the players started returning to their places of residence (with the exception of Santi Cazorla), taking flights to Barcelona, Bilbao, England, etc. as well as the AVE back to Madrid for the Madrid-based players and Roberto Soldado. During the trip, he spoke to the press.
on his hat trick: if I achieved a hat trick with one touch, it’s because Spain is practically perfect. When a forward manages to score with one touch it’s because his teammates have done things well and the ball arrives ready and positioned for the final kick. Playing with this team is easy. The hard work the team did in the first half was also a factor, as well as Llorente’s onslaught. La Roja is a fantastic team.
on his missed penalty: I’m quite pissed off that I missed it. It was my fault because I kicked it poorly. Álvaro came up to me and told me, “you take it, Roberto.” It was a very nice gesture from my teammates.
on the “buen rollito”: everything has been perfect. The welcoming was great and I didn’t feel strange at any moment. I realized the success of this team is due to the good relationship between everyone. Spain is a team, a very united team, before it is a national team.
on Del Bosque: I was 14 when he came to sign me for Madrid… he’s the one that made me believe I could become a footballer. When Del Bosque came to Valencia for me, I knew that I could achieve it.
Posted on March 3, 2012, in games and tagged alba, arbeloa, cazorla, cesc, del bosque, iker, in case you missed it, iniesta, iraola, javi, llorente, mata, muniain, pepe, sergio, silva, soldado, xabi. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.