day 7 – the day of the list
May 27, 2012.
The team put in a half day of work on Sunday, with a training session in the morning, and the afternoon off (I guess to give those who didn’t make the final list a bit of time to recover, Iker started right away).
What a sad birthday for Roberto Soldado, no? His exclusion and the inclusion of others were probably the biggest surprise to come from VDB’s list.
Spain trained on Sunday morning in Schruns, having returned to Austria following their game. Prior to the session, we could hear the work of DJ Sergio Ramos blasting from the locker room, in the form of flamenquito. We also heard people singing “cumpleaños feliz” to Roberto Soldado.
Fernando Torres and PF Juan Mata trained for the first time with the team, although it was the second training session for them, as they had trained on Saturday morning while the rest of the team took their habitual walk. The addition of these two players balanced the absence of Isco and David de Gea, who had returned to Madrid via Zurich to join the U-21 team as it prepares for its upcoming 2013 Euro qualifier.
Roberto Soldado received a round of applause from his teammates for his birthday (he turned 27) as the group gathered in a circle to hear VDB’s chat. Xabi looks way too elegant to be at a training session, no?
Then the team split up in two for the rondos. Twenty minutes after the session started, Santi Cazorla, Raúl Albiol, Bruno and Juanfran, who had played almost the entire game, left the field and spent the rest of the session in the gym with Hugo Camarero. The rest of the players continued training with the ball. Then Sergio, David Silva and Xabi Alonso left the group to stretch with Javier Miñano, and the rest of the players finished the session with a partidillo: Iker, Domínguez, Arbeloa, Beñat, Negredo and Adrián vs. Pepe, Javi García, Monreal, Soldado, Torres and Mata. It looks like they were all exhausted by the end.
The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
The players also received a memorable visit from a group of Austrian and Turkish children with disabilities from the town of Lustenau, who had traveled 90 minutes by train to Schruns. Their leader, Anabel Armendariz Martín, a Spaniard, had come to Austria for Erasmus 10 years ago and had decided to stay there. Their dream was to meet the players and coach, and that’s what they did (they had wanted to do this two years ago when Spain was preparing for the World Cup, but they weren’t able to arrange it then). It’s so cute how affectionate the boys were with the children!
The players received the afternoon off, with the exception of Torres, PF and Albiol, who trained behind closed doors with Miñano. Some of the rest of the players took the opportunity to take a walk through Schruns and have a drink at one of the outdoor cafes.
VDB’s press conference.
Here are some more things regarding VDB’s list and his press conference. Out of the 23 players chosen to play for the Eurocopa, 19 of them had been in the World Cup (the differences are Alba/Negredo/Juanfran/Cazorla for Capdevila/Marchena/Puyol/Villa), and 12 had played in the previous Eurocopa. Eleven players have played in all three competitions (there’s a nice graphic here comparing that).
And FYI, Iker is the only player to have played every World Cup and Eurocopa since 2000 (four Eurocopas, including this one, and three World Cups).
At the press conference, VDB said they had gone over the list many times and it was a carefully thought out decision, adding that there could be changes if there are injuries. He also said he feels bad that they can’t bring more players: “all of those who have been here with us may feel a bit hurt. We brought them and then we dropped them, but in August there are new call ups, and they should be conscious that they’re very close to making the national team.” As for the players who did make it, he said they are there due to their own merits.
VDB also talked about certain players. With regards to Cesc, “the doctors are optimistic. We believed it was opportune to call him up. We were in a similar situation with Thiago, who has a problem that may prevent him from playing in the Olympics… we had Thiago in mind, but he called me to tell me he needed to rest, and I of course thanked him. The case of Iraola has our esteem, but it appears that he’s not good physically.” As for the absences of Villa and Puyol, the coach said, “Villa is irreplaceable, for his characteristics and effectiveness, no one has done better than he has. We have to look for solutions and we have them all around us. But I have to say, for everything that Villa has given us, he’s irreplaceable. It’s the same thing with Puyol, which is also an important absence for us.”
With regards to selecting Negredo and not Soldado or Adrián, VDB justified it (not that he has to) as this: “Negredo and Soldado are two extraordinary players, distinct. One is faster (Soldado) than the other but the other contributes more to the play of the team (Negredo). One plays at the limit of the line of play (Soldado), and Torres, Llorente and Negredo bring other things to the team.”
This is Toni Grande with the list. And previous Spain coaches have given the list their blessing.
FYI, the list can be changed until June 8, which is when UEFA requires the teams to submit their official rosters. After that, changes to the list can only be made if there is a serious injury (a UEFA doctor will have to sign off on the injury before the change can be made).
Via twitter, Roberto Soldado expressed his frustration at not being called up: “in the end, it wasn’t to be. These are fucked up moments, but the only thing I want is for my teammates to be champions once more, they deserve the best. I also thank all of you for your messages of encouragement, they’re necessary now. Thank you.”
Álvaro Vázquez posted this photo of him and Isco from the U-21 concentración, and it reminded me of this photo on the left, which I always wanted to post but didn’t get around to (it’s from March). Dídac, Jordi and Álvaro look adorable, no?