all set for Nigeria!

Spain takes on Nigeria today (21h) in Fortaleza in its third and final game of the first round of the Confecup.  The players who started the first game against Uruguay will most likely return (or stay on in the case of Sergio Ramos), while Víctor Valdés will take over the goal.  To finish atop Group B (and face Italy), Spain needs at least a tie.

Training for the game(s).

Moments to highlight: PF Juan Mata and Sergio showing off their skills, Iker teaching a girl how to correctly use her iPhone to take a photo (since we know that he is very much of an expert)…

… Jordi Alba and PF sharing a moment during the training session…

… Raúl Albiol bullying Jesús Navas (Sergio might come after Chori now), and David Villa and Juanín fooling around.

Stats, data, anecdotes.

Mr. Chip and AS tell us the following.

Streak: Spain has not lost an official game since its debut in the 2010 World Cup (against Switzerland).  The streak of non-losses in official games is now at 27 (23 wins and four ties).  With one more, La Roja will set a new world record, surpassing France’s 27, set between 1994 and 1999.

Speculating: the only way Spain can be eliminated is if it loses to Nigeria by three goals or more AND Uruguay beats Tahiti by more than seven goals.  Here are some results that would eliminate Spain: Nigeria-Spain 4-0 and Uruguay-Tahiti 8-0, Nigeria-Spain 5-0 and Uruguay-Tahiti 7-0, Nigeria-Spain 6-0 and Uruguay-Tahiti 6-0…

One precedence: Spain and Nigeria have only played each other once, during the group phase of the 1998 World Cup on June 13, 1998.  It was a disaster.  Nigeria won 3-2, twice coming back from one goal down.  This loss was the beginning of the end of Clemente’s era as coach.  Nigeria is the only country in the world that has won all of its games against Spain.

No wins: of the 82 different rivals that Spain has played throughout its history, there are only three that it has never defeated: East Germany (two ties and one loss), Costa Rica (one tie) and Nigeria (one loss).

Nice balance: Nigeria is one of only seven teams that has a positive balance against Spain.  The others are England (12-3-8), Brazil (4-2-2), East Germany (1-2-0), Argentina (6-2-5), Germany (8-6-7) and Italy (10-12-9).

Five of five: Spain is the first country in the history of the Confecup to win its first five games of the group phase, if you count the three from 2009 (New Zealand, Iraq, South Africa).  Spain has scored 20 goals and allowed one.

Eight for Del Bosque: Del Bosque will tie Bruce Arena, Frank Farina, Manuel Lapuente, Roger Lemerre, Milan Macala and Carlos Alberto Parreira as the coach with the most games in the history of the Confecup, eight.  He can reach 10 during this tournament.

Torres: Fernando Torres is already the third top goalscorer in the history of the Confecup, after his four goals against Tahiti.  He has scored seven, tying him with Adriano and Romario.  Ahead of him are Blanco and Ronaldinho with nine apiece.  Villa is in sixth place, with six, tying him with Marzouk Al-Otaibi.

Three goalkeepers: with Valdés in goal today, it will be the first time that La Roja has used three different goalkeepers in the final phase of a World Cup, Eurocopa or Confecup, although it’s not the first time that this has happened in these tournaments, as other countries have done so.


Pedro – A minute without football.

How would you describe yourself?  A calm, simple boy, hardworking.  What are you doing during your free time here?  Sleeping, watching TV series, “Game of Thrones” at the moment, playing parchís with my teammates and spending time with them talking.  Why would you come to Brazil if not for the Confecup?  For vacation, to visit the country, the beaches are beautiful.  Give us a movie recommendation.  I have Safe with Jason Statham in my room, let’s see how it is.  A wish.  To win the Confederations Cup, which is a title we don’t have.  A dream.  For life to continue as it is now, for everything to go well for me, recently I became a father and so I want everything to continue as it is.  Who is the first person to call you after games?  It’s usually my girlfriend, to give me encouragement, and also my family.  A piece of advice for Rajoy.  (Laughs) I don’t know what advice to give, he has a difficult and complicated job and I hope everything can be resolved soon and that Spain will emerge from this crisis.  What song would you like to play during this interview?  Perhaps something by Maná, “Labios compartidos” or “Bendita tu luz,” those are all great songs.

Javi Martínez – A minute without football.

What song would you like to play during this interview?  I don’t know, one by El Canto del Loco or El Mentón de Fogarty.  How would you describe yourself?  Well, I don’t know, it’s better for others to describe me, but I would like to be described as a normal person, who likes to spend time with his friends and who enjoys his work and is very happy to be experiencing this.  What are you doing during your free time here?  Since this group is such a good one, we’re always together cracking jokes, chatting, playing parchís.  I’ve also gotten hooked on a TV series, and I play Play as well.  Why would you come to Brazil if not for the Confecup?  For vacation, it should be a good place for that, we saw the Copacabana and all that in Rio and it was great.  Give us a movie recommendation.  Buf, well I don’t know, the last one I liked was The Intouchables.  The last piece of advice you received.  To enjoy this, to be yourself, to enjoy yourself on the field.  Who is the first person to call you after games?  My mother, she always asks me how it went, she’s usually the first.  A piece of advice for Rajoy.  I’m not anyone to give anyone else advice, especially Rajoy.  Something?  I don’t know, try and help us.

Javi – En cinco toques.

What are the best and worst things about living in Germany?  The worst is the cold.  It begins snowing in November and it doesn’t stop until February or March.  There are tough moments, but I like the snow and it has been more tolerable than I expected.  The best?  That it’s an incredible country, how organized everyone is… it has been a great experience.

What is your first memory of the national team?  When I think about the national team, I always think about Raúl.  He was always there when I was a kid and he scored many goals.  He was always the hope of the national team.

What is the strangest thing a female fan has asked of you?  (Laughs) Well, I don’t know.  To sign an autograph somewhere strange.

The last person you followed on Twitter.  Hold on, I’ll tell you right now (takes out phone).  I have to tell the truth because you can check it (laughs).  Rober (Soldado).

Which Spanish and foreign footballers are your idols?  I’ve never idolized any player.  The best Spanish player right now could be Xavi or Iniesta.  And the best foreign player, Messi.

Javi also shared this photo of the three “navarricos”!

Víctor Valdés – the El País interview (highlights).

The introduction states that VV is currently looking for space on his body for two more tattoos, one for Kai, his second child, and the daughter he and Yolanda are expecting in September!  Congratulations to the family!

Where does your love of the sea come from?  from the time I lived in Tenerife as a child, the Canary Islands have occupied a corner of my heart.  I found my space in Fuerteventura.  My passion is windsurfing.  A couple of hours at sea, reading the wind in the waves allow me to forget about everything else, to create a bubble around me and disconnect.  It’s worth one week of vacation.

People are speaking very well of your participation on the national team.  I will always be grateful to Del Bosque.  I didn’t expect to go to South Africa, that’s the truth, because I had never been called up before.  I owe the míster everything, because being able to be here during these years has been wonderful, and he was the one who had confidence in me during a moment when the easy thing to do would have been not to have it.

Were you upset not to play against Uruguay?  Why would I be upset?  From the first day, I came in to help the team in whatever I needed to do and I’ve been very happy when I play and when I don’t, to tell you the truth, because for me it’s a privilege to be with this group, to form part of this team.  Iker is the captain, and the debate ended when the míster said that Iker would play.  I said “perfect” the day before.  When you’re told to play, you give it all you have and try to do the best job, like I did in Paris, and when you don’t play, you get involved in another way.  That’s what I did.  It was all very normal, because it’s normal for Iker to play.  And when he can’t, another will.  That’s all.

What did Iker say in the message he sent you after Paris?  It’s true that Iker made a very nice gesture towards me after that night in Paris that I will keep to myself.  During this year, we have exchanged many messages… I believe we have a good relationship.  It was also said that I don’t get along with Pepe.  We grew up together and although we lost touch, when we got back in touch we realized that we continue to have many things in common because we have had similar experiences and we are in tune with each other…

Sharing is caring.

Iker shared this photo of César Azpilicueta’s shirt…

… and two men whom we miss dearly also shared these photos.  Carles Puyol posted one of him kissing VV as Gerard Piqué looks on with a smile, and Xabi Alonso posted a perfectly composed photo that just exudes class, like him.


Posted on June 23, 2013, in interviews, players, team, training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Good luck boys! I hope they finish first in the group so that they meet Italy in the semi-finals. Though, first thing’s first, as long as they make it to the semi-finals.

    Those are some skills Sergio has. Great pix of PF Mata! Ha ha, Javi “The Germans are organized”. Love the fooling around, though haven’t seen any recently from Pique recently. Congrats to VV!!

    Well, let’s go beat that streak and beat Nigeria!

  2. i love that iker helped that woman figure out her phone, for some reason that absolutely cracks me up!

    thank you for all the translations, una! :)

  3. Emma Tiede (@Justicerocks11)

    Thank you for the post Una.

    Javi checking his phone to see who he followed last on twitter is simply adorable :)

  4. Why “PF” whenever you mention Juan Mata? What does it meeeeeaaaaannnn? :)

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