Well, we didn’t get off to the best start in the World Cup, did we? Then again, we started off the 2010 edition with a loss, and went on to win the whole thing. What I’m saying is that there’s no need to give up on La Roja yet. It’s easy to be pessimistic; in fact that would be the easy way out and the tendency for those fans who remember clearly the years before 2008. But there are two more games to go, and who knows what will happen. Crazier things have occurred in a World Cup. This team has heart, the ability to move past this and the determination to make their country and fans happy, and that can go a long way.
And we still have the possibility of moving onto the next round. The odds might not be as high as we would like it to be, but it remains possible nevertheless.
The second game against Chile is on June 18. If Spain wins by one goal, then it would qualify by beating Australia (June 23) by five goals or more. If Spain wins by two goals, then it would qualify by beating Australia by three or more goals. If Spain wins by three goals, then it would qualify by beating Australia while Chile loses to the Netherlands. If Chile beats the Netherlands, the Spain would have to win by one more goal than Chile did.
If Spain and Chile tie, then Spain can qualify by beating Australia and if Chile loses to the Netherlands. If Chile and the Netherlands tie, then Spain would have to beat Australia by a large margin.
If Spain loses to Chile, then it would need to beat Australia by more than 10 goals and for Chile to beat the Netherlands.
One day after the game, Vicente del Bosque spoke to the press, even though he wasn’t scheduled to, to calm the waters. Regarding Iker Casillas, he said, “he blamed himself for some things. Casillas acted as a captain after the game and he spoke to his teammates. It was a useful talk following the loss. Iker led the team and showed his strengths as a captain. He spoke to them and assumed part of the blame for the loss.”
Sergio Ramos said, “you don’t stop thinking about what happened, but football makes you move on, and even more so during a World Cup… the team is more united than ever, we are full of passion, of pride in ourselves, of hope and of motivation. We won’t forget that game, but it will motivate us more for the next one.”
Anyway, this was supposed to be a post to sum up everything that’s happened since the concentración started about two weeks ago, but I’m kind of behind these days. So, here’s the (very brief) part I wrote before, and which I was planning on posting before the first game, but simply ran out of time.
First up, here are the numbers for the tournament.
The concentración began at Las Rozas on June 2. The boys had a training session, took team photos in both their practice outfits and official Pedro del Hierro suits, met with a few sponsors, and waited around to be sent off by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy (he was late arriving because that day, the king of Spain had announced his abdication).
Then it was onto the U.S. stage of the World Cup preparations! The team flew from Madrid to Baltimore, arriving early in the morning on June 3. During the time in Washington, the team stayed at the Mandarin Oriental hotel.
There were training sessions the entire week, which once again looked more like recesses than practices of the defending world champions.
And of course, as is normal with these boys, there were lots of nice things for our eyes to feast on.
Here’s the official team photo, this one in uniform.
And what trip to the U.S. is complete without a spot of shopping? The boys had the morning of June 5 off, and 18 of the players took the option of going on a mini-tour of the capital’s sights (meaning they drove around and saw spots like the Iwo Jima Memorial or the Washington Monument from the bus windows). This was only a prelude to the real destination, Pentagon City Mall.
I liked that they got to wear their own clothes. Anyway, a handful of players – Sergio, Pepe, Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro, Javi, Fernando Torres – did some shopping at Victoria’s Secret, as captured on film for all posterity by – who else – TMZ. Sergio looks a bit perplexed by the options, no?
The ones that stayed at the hotel were Diego Costa, Juanfran, David de Gea and David Villa; Gerard Piqué went to the National Zoo along with Shakira and their son.
Training resumed on June 5, and on June 6 La Roja beat El Salvador 2-0 at FedEx Field. David Villa scored both of the goals for the boys in red. Then it was off to Curitiba, Brazil! This will be Spain’s headquarters for the World Cup; the team is staying and training at the Caju Training Center.
Sponsor Cruzcampo made a visit on June 10. It had managed to collect over 12,000 escudos in its initiative to create a gigantic heart to support the team in Brazil. It received 1,820 escudos that had been cut out from shirts, plus 11,500 that were sent through social networks and printed onto the fabric. The only one that was missing was the captain’s, which was why Iker Casillas was approached with a pair of scissors during the training session.
A representative from Cruzcampo and Jorge Carretero then proceeded to cut out the escudo from the shirt of a very apprehensive Iker, leaving him with the applause of his teammates and a hole in his shirt.
While the boys were spread out and holding the gigantic heart, some started to fan it up and down while singing “the Champions…” Jajaja!!! I love it!
The rest of the week was taken up by training sessions, press conferences, and downtime activities, as well as the trip to Salvador and the game against the Netherlands on June 13.
Here’s something to keep an eye on – the bromance between Sergio Ramos and Diego Costa. They seem to be getting along very well, no?
I’m sure a tandem bicycle is next.
To end this brief recap, a Xabi Alonso pose.