now more than ever: con La Rojita!
We may have taken a step backwards towards our medal aspirations with the loss to Japan on Thursday, but I have complete confidence that our boys will go into Sunday’s game with even more hunger, desire and determination. Meanwhile, on Friday, the entire Spanish delegation was looking quite sharp (surprising given the other clothes that Bosco designed for us, which we’ve already seen) at the opening ceremony. I like the hat, the belt and the shoes.
Olympic Village & the Opening Ceremony.
The team traveled to London on a private plane (with only 22 seats, so the delegation was made up of 18 players, Luis Milla and a team delegate) on Friday to take part in the opening ceremony. The rest of the team traveled by bus to Newcastle, site of La Rojita’s next game. At the Olympic Village, the boys were given rooms to rest in, and they also walked around, visited the official Olympic stores and had lunch in the dining area. Over the course of the day, they met up with many of the other athletes representing Spain at the games, and so we got many photos.
Here we have Cristian with Pau Gasol, and Ander with water polo player Andrea Blas, who’s also from Zaragoza.
José Calderón tweeted this photo of the meeting between the basketball and football teams in the dining area. I wonder why all of the basketball players (except for Serge) are in slippers? David de Gea looks like he could suit up for the basketball team, no? I love both of these teams so it was great to see them together. And Marc Gasol looks like an Elvis impersonator with the colorful jacket!
Meanwhile, handball player Eli Pinedo got a photo with Javi and Iker, while a bunch of former and present Atleti players – that’s handball player José Hombrados sandwiched between David and Álvaro – posed together.
Then came time for the Opening Ceremony.
While waiting for their part in the Opening Ceremony to begin, David, Jordi, Koke and Alberto posed with the Spanish ping pong team, while a selection of goalkeepers from the various Spanish teams also got together for a photo. I love it! And doesn’t Marc Gasol look a bit like Jordi Alba?
David de Gea and Feli López ran into each other…
… and the boys also shared many photos of themselves outside and inside the Olympic stadium.
At last, desfilando!
As for the game, I’m struggling to come up with anything positive to say about it. At least history is on our side, as we started the World Cup with a loss, and the most recent Eurocopa with a tie, yet went on to win both of those trophies.
Game notes: the boys had the Spanish flag on their jerseys instead of the RFEF escudo. Iñigo Martínez will miss the next game, due to his red card. I wonder what Javi said to the referee when the latter gave a red card to Iñigo; I did notice PF Juan Mata come over to help, perhaps because Javi isn’t all that fluent in English? The referee was American, by the way. And I loved how Iker Muniain accompanied Iñigo to the locker room, consoling him after the expulsion.
A reporter from Marca watched the game alongside Javi Martínez’ family, at their restaurant in Ayegui, Durban. The article says Javi’s family – his mother Fortu, his father Víctor, his brother Álvaro, his sisters Cristina and Mariola, his nieces Carmen and Sara, his nephew Rubén and his uncle Ángel María – were first excited, then nervous and finally disappointed. Álvaro says they’re proud that Javi is the captain of the team, and when the team comes out onto the field, Fortu exclaims, “look at my boy!” The family also agrees they prefer for Javi to play as a midfielder, and says that he also likes playing that position more. And during the course of the conversation, Fortu also says that Juan Mata’s mother is very nice.
The article also says the restaurant was named after the city where Javi officially debuted with Spain, but that was Pretoria, not Durban. In any case, the decor of the restaurant is inspired by Africa – Cristina, who is in charge of the restaurant, says the colors of the walls were inspired by the sunsets in Africa which are “spectacular.”
In the July 26 entry, Adrián summed up what we were all probably feeling: “today is one of those days in which you don’t feel like speaking or talking about anything at all.” However, “we have to forget about the past, an athlete has to take things game by game, play each one as if it were a final. Now we have even more desire to win the remaining two games, and we’re going to give it all we have to achieve that. When we arrived in the locker room, all of the shouts were of encouragement and support.” As for the rest of the day, he said that they had just had lunch, and that he and Mata will probably watch a movie on the computer. He’ll also speak with his family.
In his July 27 entry, Adrián talks about his impressions of the Olympic Village: “you walk down the street and you see tennis players, handball players walking around. We shared some magnificent moments with the basketball team. They wished us luck in our next two games. We both will be playing on Sunday. Pau Gasol is our flag bearer and hours before, he was tranquil. He told us to enjoy the Opening Ceremony because it’s something unique and irrepetible.” As for the dining area, “it was impressive. There’s a buffet, you can choose food from whatever country you want, there’s Indian food, Japanese food… and even a McDonald’s. And then you sit down at one of the enormous tables there, wherever you want.”
To end on a fun note…
… here’s David, Ander and Adrián re-imagined as Huey, Dewey and Louie.