days 10 & 11 – a game and then relax

May 30 and May 31, 2012.

Spain won the second of the three friendlies it has scheduled as warm-ups to the Eurocopa on Wednesday, beating old foe South Korea 4-1 in Bern.  How do you think La Roja played, and what are your thoughts on how they’re looking so far?

In terms of physical appearance, they are looking fantastic!

ONE.  With Iker looking completely relaxed on the bench, Xabi started the game as captain, then handed the armband to David Silva when he left the game.  David was the captain until the end of the game, despite the fact that Iker came on with about 10 minutes left.

TWO.  He’s got great hair (“The Ramos” is one of the options in the Nike Barbershop) and is very flexible.  What’s not to like about Sergio Ramos?

THREE.  Fernando Torres became re-acquainted with the goal on Saturday, which can only bring good things for La Roja.  I loved the celebration with PF Juan Mata, and with Sergio!  Meanwhile, Xabi converted a penalty, showing that his practicing after training sessions has paid off.  It appears that he’ll be taking the penalty kicks in the tournament.  His celebration included a bit of tongue and a big smile.

Santi Cazorla scored off of a set piece, and the celebration was fantastic – his teammates mobbed him, and since he’s so, so tiny, we weren’t able to see him until they finished celebrating.  Álvaro Negredo scored Spain’s fourth goal on the night, adding to his legend – six goals in nine games.

Santi is adorable!

FOUR.  As VDB said, many of the players not chosen for the final team got to play in this game.  Also substituting in was Iker Casillas.  His brief appearance allowed him to reach 95 wins, a world record.  It was also only the ninth time in his international career of 130 games where he had been the substitute.  After the game, Iker said, “the coaches have always had confidence in me, but I also have to thank Reina, Valdés, Palop, Diego López.  The competition in Spanish football is tremendous.”

It’s quite unusual to see Iker on the bench!

FIVE.  Fernando Torres, meanwhile, expressed his contentment at scoring his 28th goal with La Roja, which moved him past Fernando Morientes into fourth place on the all time list: “I hope my goals serve to help the team and hopefully when I get to the final of the Eurocopa, I’ll only be behind Villa and Raúl.  It will be good for me and for the team” (Fernando Hierro is in third place with 29 goals).  Fernando also said he felt very good these past days, that the goal was good for his confidence and that “here, we are teammates and not rivals as some say.  Everything we do is so that things will go well for Spain.  We don’t think about ourselves, just the team.”

SIX.  I love the similarity in these pictures of Pepe and Iker, and how both of them stayed on the field after the game to cheer on their teammates; they were especially affectionate with those players who didn’t make the final list.  Great captains, both of them.

SEVEN.  The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

The captain’s armband makes him extra appealing, no?

EIGHT.  Here’s how my convoluted logic goes.  On Real Madrid, Xabi’s “deputy” is Esteban Granero.  Esteban Granero and PF Juan Mata used to play together, have similar personalities (from what I can see) and are best friends.  Thus, PF is the closest thing to Xabi on La Roja.  And just like I love Xabi’s poses, I loved this one from Juanín.

NINE.  Speaking of PF, Adrián tweeted this photo of the Asturian part of La Roja.

TEN.  The forest corner.

In his post-game press conference, VDB said “everything has been positive, nothing negative” after the first two friendlies and that they have “achieved all the objectives” thus far.  He also mentioned the “good relationships between all the players, regardless of whether they’re staying or leaving.”  Torres came in for some praise, with the coach saying he’s doing well at the moment.

ELEVEN.  We have to take the time to thank those players who contributed to La Roja over the past two weeks, but unfortunately won’t be going to the Eurocopa, no?  So a “muchísimas gracias” goes out to David de Gea, Isco, Nacho Monreal, Álvaro Domínguez, Beñat (who had an excellent game), Javi García, Bruno, Roberto and Adrián.

TWELVE.  Thursday things.

The team flew back to Madrid right after the game, arriving around 03h, and had Thursday off to relax and disconnect.  From their twitters, we can see that Álvaro Arbeloa spent the day with his wife Carlota and Álvaro Negredo returned to his beloved Vallecas (Cuatro, meanwhile, visited Juanfran’s family in Crevillent – but without him), while Fernando Torres took a short trip to Ibiza to relax at the beach with his wife and kids.

Those players who are joining the team today were also busy.  Pedro Rodríguez presented his autobiography Pedro: Voluntad de campeón in Barcelona.  During the question and answer session at the event, he said he doesn’t feel any pressure from wearing the “7” and “in addition, I spoke with El Guaje and it made him happy for me to wear the number.  Whatever happens, the only “7” of Spain is Villa, for everything he has been and all that he has done.”

In an act with Adidas, David Villa said he doesn’t think the team will miss him, because there are great goalscorers and any of them can score.  He added, “I have an enormous amount of affection for Torres and it moves me that he’s doing so well after what he undeservedly suffered.”  David also said he speaks “daily” with his La Roja teammates, and “they know they have all my support.  I’ll miss them not only during the games, but also the time we spend together.  I hope the red fury is unleashed.”

As for other activities during this past week, here’s a sampling.  Xavi Hernández and Víctor Valdés traveled to Gabón at the invitation of Samuel Eto’o to inaugurate a school established by Eto’o’s foundation, Fernando Llorente was in Paris to watch the French Open and then training back in Bilbao, and Andrés Iniesta visited the factory of Kalise, the ice cream brand that he’s a spokesperson for.

THIRTEEN.  Other things.

Sergio filmed a little video asking people to attend the upcoming friendly in Sevilla!  He says, “hello, I’m Sergio Ramos, I wanted to send my regards and support to all my fellow Sevillanos, to my city Sevilla.  The last game we have before we travel to Poland will be in La Cartuja, we would like to feel the affection of Sevilla, which has a unique atmosphere and unique fans, and we hope your affection can help to motivate us.”  He can convince me to do anything.

In an interview published in AS today, Luis Aragonés said of Iker, “he was my right hand, along with Xavi and Puyol, and later Ramos and Torres.  If Casillas hadn’t been able to dismiss his ego and hadn’t given the maximum importance to the group above that of individuals, like the rest, nothing would have functioned.  The group that was formed continues to function, they help the new players to integrate and show them the importance of the group and of winning… Iker is a great captain.  I gave him the captaincy and he didn’t fail me.  He was my right hand, and he continues to be the best captain.”  Our former coach also said of Carles Puyol and David Villa, “Puyil is a whirlwind both on and off the field, and is very necessary for the group.  I would tell him, “Puyol don’t change,” he’s all power and dedication.  Villa has been vital in the Eurocopa and the World Cup, he has a nose for the goal, he always knows where it is.  We’re going to miss him.”

FOURTEEN.  As for the U-21 team, they beat Estonia 1-0 in their 2013 Euro qualifier on Thursday, with Isco scoring the goal following a beautiful pass from Pablo Sarabia.  La Rojita has won all six of its qualifiers so far, and won’t return to action until September, when they take on Switzerland (Sept. 6) and Croatia (Sept. 10).

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Posted on June 1, 2012, in daily, games, la rojita and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Loved this game. Thanks again for all the news on theboys! And yes, Santi is so cute and short! I love the bajitos! And the humbleness of all the members, Iker, Villa, etc.

  2. Thank you for the reports and gifs, always a pleasure to read them. Looking forward to your fashion police for today!

    Also wanted to check whether Torres now has 27 or 28 goals, cause I’ve seen both numbers being mentioned. Wikipedia and Opta have him on 28 goals (https://twitter.com/OptaJose/status/207900317231218688), I wonder where the difference in numbers comes from.

  3. I may be wrong, but I read and heard from several sources that it was Torres’ 28th goal for Spain and that he now has the 4th spot on the scorer list on his own. Anyway, thanks for your great blog, I love it!

  4. Lovely pic of Santi! he’s the Sunshine of this team :)
    I feel sorry for Beñat… he deserved to go to the Euro, but I guess his time will come

  5. Please give Santi the ball when we get a free kick! Santissimo es en fuego! LOL Iker is sooo bored on the bench. I love to hear Aragones speak of his old team. He is a great motivator. These guys really love playing together and it shows.

  6. OMG, so many news so little time. The tournament has not even started yet and I already feel like I’m missing a lot of the news, not able to read everything!!!

    If only the job was not in my way, taking away some of my time;-))

    thanks for all the news!!!

  7. Sabes en que hotel se queda la seleccion española en sevilla? Gracias!

  8. Hey, just wondering if you had any comment on what VDB said regarding the rift between Sergio & Pique. I like how he mentioned that in the grand scheme of things they’re both good people and mature enough to get over their differences in order to work together—and I do think it’s been exaggerated in the press.. but then again I have a good friend that plays professionally as a central defender and he said it really does make a huge difference in that position whether you’re able to communicate and trust/work well with your partner. I still don’t really get why everyone says they hate each other or have differences, I guess the rival clubs and that they’re from different regions?

    • unamadridista

      I don’t really have anything to say, I think they’re both mature enough to know how to work together.

  9. I’m so happy to see Torres score again. I have felt very bad for him alll this time. I hope things finally turn better for him.

  10. underfootoverhead

    Wow, the armband looks enormous on Silva. When Xabi gave it to him, I thought he unfolded it or something because it looked like it doubled in size. Even when Xavi wears it, it doesn’t look that big.

    Santi’s goal was really cheeky. I’m glad the midfielders are shooting/scoring, and that their goals are coming from a lot of different places. They’ll probably need that in the Euros, with Villa gone.

    Also glad Pedro got the number 7 shirt, since it shouldn’t affect him. I remember Villa mentioning how difficult it was for him after he inherited the 7 from Raul. It seemed kind of cruel to give the 7 to Soldado for the friendlies, but I suppose it was unintentional.

  11. this is a wonderful post. so many things to love, i don’t even know where to begin! :)

    captain xabi looks hotter than he usually does, and that’s saying something! it suits him. :) it’s strange to see iker on the bench, and even stranger to see him playing without the armband! congrats to him on the record!

    iker IS a great captain. certainly for RM, but i think even more so for the national team, because he’s leading players from so many different teams who don’t play together on a daily basis — different playing styles, personalities, etc. i love that he and pepe lent their support and love to their teammates who didn’t make the final cut.

    i love what el guaje said about el nino! but i think he’s being humble — he WILL be missed, very much. as will puyi.

    you’re right about PF juan mata = el pirata. i wish granero got a call up, though.

    santi is as adorable as arbeloa is hot. god, i love our boys!!!

  12. Wow, who’s that in the #17 shirt in the La Rojita photo?

  13. I love seeing Xabi take PKs again. He does them so calmly and so well. I wouldn’t be so surprised if Santi took one in the tournament either. And the Torres gol…. lovely :)

  14. hi una, do you believe in “sernando”? :)

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