days 25 & 26 – taking care of business
June 14, 2012.
I just watched “The Dream Team Documentary” (which I highly recommend), and I saw many similarities with La Roja, namely how the best players from each team came together with the help of a coach very experienced in managing superstars, putting aside egos and club rivalries, to become one cohesive unit that dazzled the world with its spectacular play. Do you see it?
ONE. Prior to the game against Ireland, we had Iker showing off his tongue, and Xavi rallying his troops.
TWO. More from the warm-up because you know how I love those moments…
THREE. So much beauty!
FOUR. Iker spent most of the game moving and jumping around in front of his goal, because there was not much action in his area and he had to keep warm, as the rain kept falling and the outside temperature was only 10 degrees.
FIVE. During this game, Spain’s players gave 898 passes, of which 815 reached their intended targets. Xavi Hernández gave 136 passes, and only nine of them did not reach their destinations. His 127 complete passes set a new Eurocopa record, as did the 136 pass attempts. That of course helped the team to score goals!
Fernando Torres’ two goals in this game were his 29th and 30th with La Roja, pushing him into third place on the all-time goalscoring list. Ahead of him are David Villa (51) and Raúl (44).
I love the little moment between Cesc and Gerard!
SIX. Javi (!!!) saw his first minutes in a Eurocopa! He came in for Xabi Alonso, who had picked up a yellow card. Yay!!! (For Javi (!!!)’s appearance, not Xabi’s card.)
SEVEN. I just like these moments because it shows how much of a piña we are. And I also love how Xabi just casually threw the sweatshirt over his shoulders and ended up looking like a model.
EIGHT. After the game, Iker proceeded to give away his shirt, his gloves, his captain’s armband… though unfortunately not his base layer.
There were hugs between many of the Spanish and Irish players, some of whom had been teammates in England.
Spain will only need to tie Croatia in its last game to pass onto the quarterfinals of the competition. At present, Spain is tied with Croatia for the lead in the group, but has a better goal average. That means that if Spain ties Croatia in the last game of the group stage, it will finish first.
NINE. The Xabi Alonso pose section.™
The man was in top form.
Look at him!
TEN. After the game, Xavi explained that “Spain’s philosophy is nonnegotiable” and said they had played an “excellent” game against Ireland: “the group has played well, it was a good game for the confidence of the group and we all played well. We scored goals, we achieved a good result and that’s great. It’s good for everyone, for the míster, for the players, for El Niño.” He added, “we played football well, and today everyone saw a great Spain.”
Fernando Torres, meanwhile, said he’s trying to enjoy each moment, each game, and that he was lucky to have been able to score two goals. Gerard Piqué spoke about the criticism: “there’s never any patience with the national team. When it doesn’t win a game, it seems like it did something bad and that’s not the case. We have to live with this. Now we’re one of the great teams and that’s part of what being a big team means.” Javi (!!!), who got his first minutes in a Eurocopa, said, “today I played as a midfielder after a lot of time (as a defender), and I felt good. It’s important to know how to adapt to various positions. I’m very strong mentally and I’m prepared for whatever the míster wants.”
ELEVEN. The forest corner.
In his declarations to the press after the game, VDB called the victory “a dose of morale and optimism” for the team and said he put Fernando Torres in the starting XI “so that he could do what he’s done.” He also said he was happy, since the team achieved its main objective, which was to win, because the team also scored more goals than Croatia had in its 3-1 win over Ireland, and because the team had played well. VDB also stressed that the coaches have the “same confidence” in Cesc as they did four days ago: “we have a lot of confidence in him, but we have other resources on our squad and we have to take advantage of that.”
TWELVE. Other things/videos.
Sergio tweeted this photo of him having dinner with Xabi, Pepe and Fernando x 2. The free time started as soon as the game ended and the players finished all their obligations.
I love, love, LOVE Fernando Llorente for opting for the tight shirt. He looks quite fantastic in it, no? Anyway, Fer is the star of Chapter 5 of the Adidas series, “El vestuario de La Roja.” During the video, he answered questions about the upcoming game (Ireland). As for the non-game related questions, Fernando revealed that he doesn’t have a pre-game routine; that he’s doing very, very poorly in the team porra as he’s not getting anything right, and that he put Mario Gómez as the leading scorer; that he hasn’t made any promise of something to do should Spain win the Eurocopa because he hasn’t done the thing he promised to do for the World Cup yet (go skydiving); and that his shirt is very comfortable (on our eyes too!).
Liga BBVA/Sportyou interviewed four of the players and got them to reveal their favorite books, videogames, songs and movies.
A book. Iker: that one that I read by Federico Moccia, which I really liked. It was the first book that I started reading and liked. Ehhh… Perdona si… Perdona… si te llamo amor (Scusa ma ti chiamo amore). [He must have really liked it if he couldn’t even remember the name….] Silva: Un burka por amor. Negredo: Twilight. Juanfran: The Hobbit.
A videogame. Iker: Super Mario Bros. Silva: I don’t really like videogames, but FIFA. Negredo: ISS Pro. Juanfran: NBA 2K.
A song. Iker: “Stars,” by Roxette. Silva: any one by Juanes. Negredo: “Volar,” by Los Rebujitos. Juanfran: “Thriller,” by Michael Jackson.
A movie. Iker: Notting Hill. Silva: Gladiator. Negredo: Law Abiding Citizen. Juanfran: Gladiator.
June 15, 2012.
The team received the entire morning and part of the afternoon off, and many of them spent the time with visiting family and friends.
Then it was back to Gniewino. This is the moment when a fan started singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” and Xabi and Pepe’s reactions.
During the morning, Sergio Busquets got tests done on his right foot, which had suffered a brutal tackle in the game against Ireland. The tests ruled out any type of injury, which is good news. The team had a closed training session in the afternoon.
While the team was enjoying some time off in Gdansk, the journalists covering La Roja were invited by the federation to visit the team hotel in Gniewino, as none of the members of the team were there. Based on the various reports filed by these journalists, we found out that the rooms – on the second floor – are quite spartan, small and bare. VDB, Iker and Xavi, as head coach and captains, respectively, have suites of around 70 square meters in size, while the other players have to make do with rooms that are about 25 square meters in size. The door to each room has the player’s name and photo on it.
Whoever planned the rooms also put friends together, because on one side of the hallway, we have: Pepe, Llorente, Torres, Valdés, Iniesta, Pedro, Xabi, Sergio, Arbeloa, Piqué and Cesc. Facing these rooms on the opposite side of the hallway are: Mata, Javi, Cazorla, Busquets, Silva, Negredo, Navas (across from Sergio), Albiol (across from Arbeloa), Juanfran and Jordi.
There are various rooms for the players’ entertainment on the same floor, including one dedicated to the Scalextric game. There’s also a game room with a dartboard, two pool tables, a ping pong table, a futbolín, a PS3 and a PlayStation Move, as well as one room just for parchís and another for playing cards.
The journalists also got to visit the dining room (the players sit at two tables, one for 11 and the other for 12), the spa, the gymnasium, the equipment room, the locker room, the video/technical chat room…
During the visit, they also got to see Paco Jiménez and Damián García at work.
To end on a nice note, here’s the photo that Iker posted of him and Xavi yesterday, from way back. Xavi looks pretty much the same, but Iker has gotten more handsome!
Posted on June 16, 2012, in daily, games and tagged albiol, arbeloa, busquets, cesc, del bosque, iker, in case you missed it, javi, juanfran, llorente, negredo, pepe, piqué, sergio, silva, torres, xabi, xavi. Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.