day 23 – shrugging off the criticism
June 12, 2012.
All the things that happened in the La Roja summer camp on Day 23 of the Eurocopa…
The training session.
The team trained on Tuesday afternoon (and will do the same on Wednesday – the official, day-before-the-game training session will also be here in Gniewino, because VDB doesn’t like the field at Gdansk Arena). What line-up Spain will field for the game against Ireland was still unknown after this training session, as no clues could be deduced at the conclusion of the practice. However, Fernando Torres did make a strong case to be included, as he scored three goals during a “triangular” game (there were two goals parallel to each other on one side and only one goal on the other).
Iker and Pepe ended the session by challenging each other to a penalty shootout. Pepe won it with a Panenka-style attempt, and celebrated like Kiko, in the archer position.
During the morning, the team had a video session, a stretching session and also took a walk around the area.
The press conference and media availability.
Jesús Navas and Sergio Busquets spoke to the press.
Jesús on the line-up against Italy: I believe there are many options. We believe that the decision was good because the míster always puts the team to win the games and he has very clear ideas. It’s our style and we have many alternatives that we can use.
Jesús on the minutes he played: I’m very satisfied with the minutes I played against Italy, I enjoyed myself on the field and I have a lot of desire to contribute things to the team and so I’m going to give it my all in each training session. I feel that I have the confidence of the míster. Whenever I have the opportunity, I’m going to give it my all so that I can be one of the starting XI.
Busquets on Cesc’ appearance in the game: everyone understands the decisions of the coach, and all of the decisions that he makes are for the good of the team and to win games.
Busquets on the criticism: we’re not going to change our style. The important things are our style and our philosophy, and we need to have patience and circulate the ball.
Busquets on the field: as my teammates said, it affected our style a lot. Our play is based on passing and quick association, and it was difficult to do that on a field that hadn’t been watered. Italy said they didn’t want the field to be watered and that’s respectable, but who should take charge in this issue is UEFA. Hopefully in the next game the field will be conducive to play and it will give us a bit more of an advantage to play our game. We’re not using this issue as an excuse. Both teams played on it but it’s clear that it affected us more.
Jesús and Sergio B. were also asked about Rafa Nadal. Jesús responded, “watching him play is spectacular, he’s the most complete athlete right now and we’re all proud of what he’s achieving,” while Busuqets called Rafa “an example” and said “we’re proud that he’s a Spanish athlete and we hope he continues to achieve success. If he’s not the best, he’s one of the best athletes in history.”
Sergio Ramos and Javi Martínez (!!!) were also made available to the journalists for interview. Among the outlets that Sergio spoke to was El Mundo. He was asked about his hair and why he decided to change it: “I don’t even know, it was probably just to have a bit of a change. One of the reasons why I kept my long hair for so many years was because it had given me good luck in the Eurocopa and the World Cup. But you have to change your look, go with the times. I also changed positions on the national team, so we can say the changes went together (laughs).” Sergio also told the newspaper that he was surprised by the pessimism after the game: “I thought that it had been a good game, even though the field did not help us at all. For the way we play, we need the ball to go rapidly. If the field had been watered, it would have been much better for our style and for the fans.”
Sergio also spoke with COPE’s “El Partido de las 12” (have a listen here). He said he’s going to keep the beard until the end of the tournament, that the team listens to a mix of musical styles since they come from all over Spain (they do like David Bisbal’s Eurocopa theme song and one by Canelita – perhaps the one Sergio sings on?), and right now he doesn’t need to use hair gel because his hair is dry and fine and stays up by itself. He ended by taking the program’s little test.
Would you be capable of explaining to us what is the risk premium in 10 seconds? No. It’s up to you to take the last penalty in the final, who is the last person you think of? I’ll take it without thinking of anyone. If the king comes into the locker room after you win the title, who would tell the joke about the elephant? (Laughs) Either Pepe Reina or me (this response elicits “¡joder!” and “this is a real man!” from the presenters). “It’s not normal to sell an image of perfection because no one is perfect.” Who said this and about whom was it said? I don’t know who said it, but it’s true [Mourinho said it about Guardiola]. When you have doubts, you… the most busty one (it’s a saying that rhymes in Spanish – “ante la duda… la más tetuda,” Sergio says perhaps no one says it, but everyone thinks it). Why are football players always seen on television spitting on the field after missing a goal? It might be to excuse themselves, but I think it’s a mania. What country was the current pope born in? Germany (no hesitation). Could this be one of the three worst interviews you’ve ever done? What, what? Is this one of the three worst interviews you’ve done in your life? No, no way.
It looks like Javi (!!!) drove the way there and Sergio on the way back! Javi (!!!) is saying, yes, he really is going to drive, and telling the photographer to be careful so that he won’t run over him. And when Sergio came along, he said he’s not sitting next to Javi (!!!).
Javi (!!!) spoke to Marca, telling the newspaper that the team is “good. You have to think about the fact that the rival is a national team with four stars on its shirt, and one that has great players. It wasn’t the best game or the best result, but there were positive things and I believe we’ll get better. We’re positive and we’re confident, and we’re sure we’re going to pass and be in the quarterfinals.” Javi (!!!) was also asked about VDB and the criticism he received: “he’s good, as tranquil as ever. He knows what team he has and that’s why he’s tranquil.” As for Fernando Torres, “Fernando has been a professional for 10 years. He knows what to do. The criticism for not scoring in the first game will turn into praise if he scores one or two against Ireland. Then he’ll once again be the best in the world. We know how to live with these types of things.” Javi (!!!) also revealed that Russia is the team that has impressed him the most so far, and that Karim Benzema would be the forward he would want to avoid in this Eurocopa.
With Punto Pelota, Javi (!!!) did a little test about Poland. Look at his face when Irene proposes the test! What is the name of the town that we’re in? Gniewino. The typical food? Joder, of this town? Of Poland. I don’t know, I have no idea. What do you eat? Here? What we always eat, pasta, salad and meat. What is the capital of Poland? Warsaw. What is the currency here? The “plotty” or something like that. No? Zloty. Oh really, I almost got it, joder. Give us a kiss. A kiss for everyone on Punto Pelota.
Vicente del Bosque.
Vicente del Bosque spoke to various media outlets on Tuesday, including Onda Madrid, Cuatro and TVE. He spoke about how the criticism doesn’t bother him: “I’ve read almost everything that was written, as I usually do. I believe I have the virtue of knowing how to listen and a loss or a tie is not going to change my routine. The debate doesn’t bother me at all, it’s part of this game. We know that in football, it’s impossible to make everyone happy. Now it’s being said that Vicente del Bosque is pissed off, but that’s not the truth.” He also said he would do the same thing if he had to play Italy again, and spoke about how the press and Spaniards are always trying to find negative things to complain about.
Jordi Alba was the latest player to be interviewed by Adidas in their “El Vestuario de La Roja” series. He reveals that the team is looking forward to the game against Ireland and winning it, as well as the game against Croatia. As for his pre-game ritual, Jordi says he jumps three times, and before the second half starts, he jumps four times, which is something he’s done since the time he was a kid. The other questions that were asked weren’t that interesting, but do watch out for Jordi starting almost every answer with “Bueno…” Jordi also got the question about which of the national teams is the shortest one right (the answer is, in case you haven’t already guessed, Spain).
Juanfran did a little test (no discussions about football allowed) with Cuatro while speaking with the press the other day. What is the premium risk? I know what it is, but I can’t define it. It’s a very complicated thing. Give Rajoy a piece of advice. I’m one of those who believe the best advice is the one not given. What music do you listen to? I like Michael Jackson a lot, and he is who I listen to the most. A movie. The Lord of the Rings. Define yourself: hard working, 100 percent. What are you doing during your free time here in Poland: I’m watching Entourage, and I spend time with my teammates talking or playing games. Say something good about Poland: the weather is good for training sessions. What currency is used in Poland? You got me. It’s not the euro, is it? Who do you call at night? My mother, my wife to speak with my son, and if I have time, a friend. What is the last compliment that you received? That I am the best rightback in Spain. A dream: to win this Eurocopa. Why are we going to win this Eurocopa? Because we have a team with great players and a great coach, and because if Spain plays as it knows how to, it will deserve to win this Eurocopa.