La Rojita – champions of Europe!
We are champions of Europe in the senior, U-21 and U-19 categories! In fact, in the last five years, we have won six European titles: the 2008 and 2012 Eurocopas, the 2011 and 2013 U-21 Eurocopas and the 2011 and 2012 U-19 Eurocopas. Can you say hegemony?
On June 18, Spain extended its dominance in Europe by beating Italy 4-2 in the final of the U-21 Eurocopa, with Thiago scoring a hat trick and Isco chipping in a goal as well. Thiago, the captain this time around, became the first player to score a hat trick in the final since the format was changed to a single final game.
Thiago, David de Gea, Martín Montoya, Iker Muniain and Diego Mariño were repeat winners, as they had formed part of the winning 2011 squad. Also on that team were Javi Martínez, Juan Mata and César Azpilicueta, who are now playing for the senior national team.
As soon as the game ended, the substitutes ran onto the field to join the rest of the team in a piña, and to kick off the celebrations. I loved that they managed to form a heart with the water, and that the scene was captured at the exact right moment!
Up next was the presentation ceremony, where the boys collected their medals. The trophy was then presented to Thiago, the captain. I loved that Thiago showed up for the presentation ceremony wearing Sergio Canales’ shirt (the 7)! Sergio tweeted in response, “congratulations to the U-21 team! Champions of Europe! A big hug for everyone and thank you Thiago for his gesture!”
During the celebration, Álvaro Vázquez decided he had to party on top of the goal. It took him a while, but he finally got up there! Maybe he needs to work on his upper body strength?
More scenes from the celebration.
These two really, really love each other, don’t they? They are such an adorable bromance.
The boys also tossed their coach up in the air, and made his pants fall off in the process!
Here’s the traditional foto de familia with the entire team.
Inside the locker room and afterward.
The senior national team should take note. They could learn a few things from their younger counterparts. And what a tender kiss from David de Gea to Iker Muniain! (They’re singing “Mona Lisa” by Alkilados.)
The boys also spent some time posing with the trophy, their medals and each other, and then sharing the resulting photos via Twitter.
At the dinner, things were just as crazy as before.
This is one of the best celebration videos I have ever seen. And as we can see from the chants for Álvaro Morata, Iker Muniain and Sergio Canales, the atmosphere is just as good as it is on the senior team.
Spain also won all three of the goalscoring awards. Álvaro Morata won the Golden Boot for his four goals (taking over from Adrián López), while Thiago took the Silver Boot for his three goals and assist, and Isco was awarded the Bronze Boot for his three goals. (ABMM said after arriving in Madrid with the trophy that “I had to pass it through the metal detector twice, and when I opened up the box, the police were very surprised with what was inside.”)
Thiago was also named as the player of the tournament, while 11 Spaniards made the ideal team: Thiago, David de Gea, Álvaro Morata, Rodrigo, Isco, Illarra, Koke, Marc Bartra, Iñigo Martínez, Martín Montoya and Alberto Moreno.
Back in Spain.
The team returned to Madrid the next day, while coaches Julen Lopetegui and Santi Denia headed to Turkey to coach the U-20 team, which is currently playing in the U-20 World Cup (La Rojita won its first game against the United States). The trophy emerged in the hands of Iker Muniain, who was perched on the shoulders of David de Gea (a disaster waiting to happen!). That night, they continued the celebrations at a restaurant/club/lounge in Madrid.
Spain loves you!
The next day, they headed to the office of the prime minister of Spain, where they met up with Mariano Rajoy (the one who doesn’t give press conferences). They presented him with a signed jersey (it read: for Mariano Rajoy, with fondness and affection, the U-21 national team, champions of Europe!!).
There was also time to chat with the prime minister, and for Nacho Camacho to get Isco to take a photo of him with Rajoy.
Then it was time for everyone to go their separate ways, and Cristian, the two Marcs, one Álvaro and Thiago returned to Barcelona together.
La Roja’s reaction.
Vicente del Bosque and players from the senior national team watched the game in Brazil, and many of the boys tweeted their congratulations to the team.
Iker posted on his Facebook, “congratulations to Carvajal, Nacho and Morata for becoming the U-21 champions of Europe! Congratulations to all three and to the rest of the team! One more success for Spanish football! You all are great!!” Sergio Ramos tweeted, “I congratulate the U-21 national team for their win in the Eurocopa and my friends Álvaro Morata, Nacho Fernández and Dani Carvajal. You all deserve it!” Álvaro Arbeloa also tweeted congratulatory messages to his three club teammates. For Carva, it was “congratulations! What a year you’ve had crack! You deserve it! Now celebrate it and enjoy it. We’ll see each other soon! A big hug!!” For Nacho, it was “congratulations! Champions of Europe! You only need one more to have as many as I do! I’m so happy for you! A hug!” For ABMM, it was “congratulations! Champions of Europe and pichichi! Don’t let it go to your head, you’ll still have to be in the middle for the rondos. Enjoy it!” Roberto Soldado tweeted, “congratulations to the super U-21 team. All of you cracks deserve it, you too as well Sergio Canales. Get well soon and quickly. A hug.” David Silva tweeted, “congratulations to the U-21 team, they were superior during the entire tournament, the win is very deserved, now it’s time to enjoy it.”
Carles Puyol tweeted, “congratulations champions! U-21 national team! Very deserved! A hug for everyone.” Cesc tweeted, “Congrats to Sub-21 to be European Champion again!” Geri Piqué tweeted, “congratulations to the U-21 team for winning the U-21 Euro! They were much more superior than their rivals. Very deserved.” Víctor Valdés tweeted, “I congratulate the U-21 team for winning Europe once again. You all are great!” Javi tweeted, “congratulations to the U-21 team for winning the U-21 Euro with this superiority, you all are the best!!!” Santi Cazorla tweeted, “I congratulate the U-21 team, congratulations!!! Great work!!!” Andrés Iniesta tweeted, “congratulations to the U-21 team, especially my Barça teammates and Thiago for his hat trick!!!!” Pedro tweeted, “congratulations to the U-21 team for winning the title! Congratulations to Thiago for his goals in the final. Enjoy it!!” Pepe tweeted, “my most sincerest to the U-21 team for their fantastic triumph in the Eurocopa! Deserved champions playing the best football! Proud of all of you.” He followed that up with “my most sincerest congratulations jajaja… it slipped my mind… a hug.”
And Rafa Nadal tweeted before the game, “when I won the French Open, I received a very nice message from the boys of the U-21 team. The successes you’ve had make me very happy. Good luck tonight!” Afterward, he tweeted, “congratulations to the U-21 team and their coach Julen Lopetegui for becoming champions of Europe!”