day 38 – to the final (I)!

June 27, 2012.

We are through to the final!  It took more than two hours and quite a few heart pounding moments, but Spain will be playing in the final of the 2012 Eurocopa against Italy.

ONE.  Prior to the game, we had the players all listening to music through huge headphones (especially Fernando Llorente), texting or both simultaneously.  Meanwhile, Xabi had to have his coffee and Pepe his beer.

TWO.  More pre-game scenes.  Xavi and Jordi were being affectionate with each other, while Sergio was offering everyone a high five, before the team headed into their now customary huddle.

THREE.  I love that Xavi took the time to hug Álvaro Negredo prior to the start of the game, and perhaps whisper a few words of encouragement, since this game was more or less Álvaro’s debut in the Eurocopa (that one minute can’t really count) and he even got to start.

FOUR.  I won’t write too much on the 120 minutes of the game, since I believe we were all more or less feeling like Andrés Iniesta in this moment.

FIVE.  This has got to be the most talented bench in the world.  And there’s so much beauty too!

SIX.  The Xabi Alonso pose section.™

Even in pain, Xabi Alonso manages to look elegant.

The sequence where he went down after Pepe crashed into his back gave us various interesting and new poses.

More of Xabi being muy jefe

SEVEN.  Continuing with Xabi, as the team was preparing to go into overtime, he was the player Vicente del Bosque chose to talk things over with.  He also had many things to say to his teammates.  Meanwhile, Iker was busy adjusting his kit.

Another huddle before the start of overtime, with a half dressed Iker…

EIGHT.  Moving on to the minutes right before the penalty shootout was to begin, we had everyone going over to Iker to give him their encouragement.  The other players hugged it out as well, and that little massage from Fernando Llorente to Andrés Iniesta made me smile amid the tension!

Iker was also seen on the bench changing his shorts, before stepping out onto the field.

NINE.  Then the players got together into a huddle, which broke before VDB reached it.  Jajaja!  Iker won the coin toss, and got to choose whether Spain would shoot first or receive first.  He pantomimed that Spain wanted to kick first, since I guess there was no common language between him and the referee.

TEN.  Xabi, Iniesta, Piqué, Sergio Ramos and Cesc were tasked with taking the penalties, in that order.  Here are the players during Xabi Alonso’s penalty attempt.  It’s not worth it to show the miss, no?

Luckily, we had Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué, who both made theirs.  Piqué told COPE after the game that this was his first penalty attempt (and make) as a professional!  Incredible.

And luckily we had Iker as well, who made the save right after Xabi’s miss to remove some of the pressure off of the next penalty takers and put more pressure on the Portuguese players.

One more chapter in his legendary career…  Then Sergio stepped up and took one a la Panenka.

Sergio said later that he had thought of taking the penalty in the Panenka style, “but it’s true that one doesn’t decide until he sees what the goalkeeper is doing.  In this case, I knew that the goalkeeper was going to dive to one side (the next day, he said he had seen how Rui Patricio went to the sides in response to Iniesta and Piqué’s shots and so he knew he wasn’t going to wait for the penalty by staying still).”  He also revealed that the penalty kick “is dedicated to my family, my girl and the fans.”  I guess the “L” is for Lara then?  And I love that he pointed to the star!

And finally, it came down to Cesc.  If he made this one, then Spain would be through to the final.  Prior to taking the kick, we saw Cesc appearing to speak to the ball.  He admitted after the game that that was exactly what he had been doing: “I think I spoke to the ball!  I think I told it not to fail me, that we were together and we were going to go together until the end.”  Jajaja, adorable!  Anyway, Cesc made it just like he did four years ago against Italy.  Coincidentally enough, that penalty shootout also went 4-2.

And that launched the celebrations…

¡A la final!

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Posted on June 30, 2012, in daily, games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Wonderful post. I loved the downward facing dog yoga pose by Xabi after he got hacked by Pepe. Santi is so cute giving love and affection to Sergio & others in the gifs. Cesc is so crazy when he talked right after the game on the pitch he looked kinda loco or mad. ;-). I love the video with certain moms on as I think? Iniesta’s mom is so cute n she doesn’t like to watch him take pens.

  2. What a thrilling match! the match was during lunch time where I am, and I just couldn’t eat. I’m so HAPPY for our Team!! love the recaps of pregame, i adore these guys for the genuine affection and encouragement they give each other. Mucha fuerza y suerte para la Final!!

  3. I almost had a heart attack when it went to penalties! But when cesc was in the identical situation 4 years agony, I knew we were going to the final!

  4. I heard that Fabregas wanted to and isisted to take the last penalty…seems too much of a glory hunter move to me.

  5. thanks so much for this post. I loved the pic where iker is putting his shorts on. I love how you wrapped up this post too.

  6. Damn that chair in front of Iker changing his duds!

  7. normally “L” on the forehead signifies “loser”. so i thought it was a taunt vs the portuguese.

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