days 21 & 22 – game & the consequences
June 10, 2012.
As Iker is saying, tranquilo, there’s no need to worry. In the past, Spain has had worse debuts than this 1-1 tie against Italy, before going onto glory (see: Switzerland, 2010 World Cup). In addition, they’ve also had fantastic debuts that later on, didn’t mean anything (see: Ukraine, 2006 World Cup).
ONE. During the morning walk, Iker and Sergio were quite affectionate with Xavi.
TWO. Here are a couple of pictures with some of the players who didn’t get into the game, including Javi (!!!). Cesc looks so happy to be hugged by VV!
THREE. As you know, the moments prior to (and after) the game are some of my favorites, and this is one of the reasons why, for scenes like this one! Plus, Xabi’s ass! And do you think Sergio and Gerard are wearing the same boots on purpose?
FOUR. Also prior to the game, we had Iker showing off his Perfect Profile, and being very affectionate with Gianluigi Buffon during the coin toss.
FIVE. More pre-game moments: the anthem…
… and Sergio’s hair. What do you think of this slicked down, combed over style?
SIX. Andrés Iniesta was the clear man of the match.
SEVEN. Cesc scored the only goal of the game, from a fantastic pass by David Silva, so the first person Cesc hugged during the celebration was David. Next up was Jordi, who held out a hand for Cesc to high five. However, Cesc missed his hand and ended up hitting Jordi in the face! And he didn’t even realize it! Jajaja!!!!
EIGHT. What a view Iker had at that moment, no?
This is also a great view…
… and this one as well. However, I bet Shakira wasn’t that impressed; after all, she gets to see this – and more – on a daily basis. I love the skid mark he left in the grass too.
NINE. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
This is how I would defend Xabi Alonso too.
TEN. There were more hugs between Iker and Gigi once the final whistle blew, and Andrés, Sergio and Xabi’s shirts also came off. Keep it up boys!
ELEVEN. After the game, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Cesc were amongst the players who complained about the very dry state of the field, saying it was a disaster, and how deplorable it was to play on a field like that one.
Meanwhile, Fernando Torres said he didn’t mind Spain starting without a forward: “the important thing is for Spain to win, no matter how. I think both ways are good. If Cesc continues scoring, then he should continue playing.”
TWELVE. The forest corner.
In his post-game press conference, VDB said that he would have liked to beat Italy, that it was a good game, and that the field was too dry: “we would have liked to win. I’m not frustrated. The effort we made was extraordinary. It has been a very good game and we should be content. Such a dry field does not favors for football. If the field had been more rapid, it would have been better for everyone, not just Spain. There’s no doubt that we would have seen a better game with a more rapid field.”
As for Cesc, VDB said, “Cesc is a very special midfielder, because he’s not a center forward per se, but he does finish very well. In addition, he gives us superiority in the midfield and we don’t give the opposition a reference. He has his positive and negative things and we tried to use those that we believed were the best.”
In this game, Iker made five saves, the same amount he made in the seven games he played to help Spain qualify for the Eurocopa. In other words, this game was the most difficult one for him in the past year and a half while defending the goal of La Roja.
This tie against Italy was also Vicente del Bosque’s first one as head coach of La Roja, a position he has held for almost four years. In his 56 games, he has a record of 47-3-6. Only two of those six losses came in official games: against the United States in the 2009 Confederations Cup, and against Switzerland in the opening game of the 2010 World Cup.
FOURTEEN. Other things.
At the game: Shakira, Prince Felipe and Princess Letizia of Spain, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, Real Madrid coach José Mourinho, former Real Madrid (and many other teams) coach Fabio Capello, VDB’s kids, and various friends and family members of the players, who were each allowed to invite two people as their official guests, in addition to getting tickets to give to other people.
Xabi Alonso and Víctor Valdés were chosen randomly for drug testing after the game. While doing the tests, VV tweeted, “still in the stadium doing the drug testing (which I’ve already done three times!)… here, I’m drinking water to do it once more!”
VDB allowed his players to start their day off as soon as the game ended, so many of the players had dinner with their visiting friends and families in Gdansk, such as Cesc, Piqué, Juanfran, Iker, Javi (!!!)… I guess neither Sergio nor Fernando had visitors, since they – Sergio and “the rat” Torres – had dinner together, which Sergio tweeted about.
June 11, 2012.
The day off lasted until noon on Monday, when the players were due back at the hotel, so that they could start the return trip to Gniewino. Later that evening, they had a closed training session. It started with VDB chatting briefly with his starters, before they went on to do recovery work with the fisios or work out in the gym. The rest of the players trained at a higher intensity.
We saw Cesc’ grandfather Álex Soler above, having dinner with his wife and grandson, and he also spoke to COPE’s “El Partido de las 12,” as did PF Juan Mata’s grandfather, Manuel García. Álex said they’re currently in Gdansk and will stay until Friday, returning after watching Spain’s second game. He revealed that he’s very happy for the national team and for his grandson, because “he needed to score a goal to feel more comfortable.” He liked the game and has nothing bad to say about the line-up (jaja, expected!). Meanwhile, Manuel, who’s still in Spain “because I’m going to the final,” said he doesn’t understand how the national team and Del Bosque can be criticized after giving the country such great football. He reasons, the team has gotten us so accustomed to such good football that when they play a little worse, it’s bad. The presenters also point out that if Spain continues to play without forwards, their grandsons will have higher probabilities of getting minutes. Have a listen here.
Posted on June 12, 2012, in daily, games and tagged alba, cesc, del bosque, iker, in case you missed it, iniesta, mata, piqué, sergio, silva, torres, valdés, xabi, xavi. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.