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).
Posted on June 1, 2012, in daily, games, la rojita and tagged adrián, arbeloa, cazorla, del bosque, iker, in case you missed it, iniesta, mata, negredo, pepe, sergio, silva, torres, xabi. Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.