Tomorrow, the national team returns! In the meantime, here is a post to (hopefully) amuse you.
Watch a video here about PF Juan Mata’s first month in London (the video is from several weeks ago). In it, he says he’s still living in a hotel, that he’s gone out to eat a few times and that London is a great city, although the prices are higher than in Spain and he’s not used to the British meal hours (Juanín says he needs his midday snack and coffee). So far, the weather’s been good to Juanín, and he finds the roundabouts and parking confusing, since you have to get the ticket on the other side, but he doesn’t think it will take him long to adapt to the driving. As for his English, it’s “improving” (he says that word in both Spanish and English), so in this case, maybe some help is going on.
Two games to watch tonight: Spain vs. Italy in a friendly at 20:45h, and La Rojita vs. South Korea in the U-20 World Cup round of 16 at 0h Spanish time. Here’s how the two teams have been preparing for the games.
First we eat (croissants, no doubt), then we work it off. Javi (!!!) – the three exclamation marks are restored because he’s out of those jeans and into the unamadridista-approved La Roja wear – works it off so well, doesn’t he?
… but in the meantime, this is all we have.
ONE. A few more notes on Vicente del Bosque’s new title: he is now to be addressed as “ilustrísimo,” and is one of 1,372 marquis titleholders in the country. The decision of the king to concede this title to VDB was communicated to the coach two months ago, and his first reaction (once he got over the shock and could speak again) when the head of the royal house told him of the decision was, “tell His Majesty that it’s a great honor for me, but isn’t it a bit too much?” No one, except his wife Trini, knew of this until the bulletin from the BOE came out yesterday. Once the news broke, Trini said, “I’m very proud of my husband. It’s a recognition of his honesty, his professionalism and the love for football that he has. It’s an honor for him, for me and for our children, who will always hold this title with pride.”
TWO. On Monday, the Spanish national team will have the first plaza named after them in Spain. In Zaragoza, a plaza will be inaugurated under the name “Plaza de la selección española de fútbol. La Roja.” RFEF head Ángel María Villar and the World Cup will preside over the ceremony.
THREE. And on Feb. 14, the national team is scheduled to travel to Rome to be received by the pope. However, a whole bunch of players may miss the trip, as Athletic is playing a Liga game on that day, while Chelsea plays in the Premiership, and Valencia plays in the Champions League on Feb. 15 and Barcelona takes on Arsenal on Feb. 16.
FOUR. Several of you expressed disappointment that Sergio Canales did not make the U-21 list for the friendly against Denmark, but that’s due not only to his lack of playing time with Madrid, but also because the RFEF is considering him for the U-20 team that will play in the World Cup this summer in Colombia (July 29-August 20). He’s played with a lot of those players on the U-19 team. In addition, there are already many quality players in his position on the U-21 team.
However, Sergio C. may make the cut for Denmark after all if in the end Juan Mata is ruled out due to injury. Juanín is definitely out, but the player called up to replace him is Mallorca forward/winger Emilio Nsue.
At last the international break is over, which means that my sleeping schedule can go back to normal!
The La Rojita result was good, the La Roja one not so good. Let’s start with the good stuff, and put the bad stuff after the break, so you don’t have to see it unless you want to!
Sergio Canales scored the game winner as Spain beat Poland 1-0. His goal was quite ingenious – watch it here – but as you can see, this wasn’t the first time that he and Thiago had attempted something like that. They had scored in this way just two months ago, when they were playing with the U-19 team in the Euro championship. It was the idea of Ander Herrera to repeat the play, which they call “la picadita,” on Tuesday. Thiago said, “it was a play that we had done with the U-19 team, it worked out well for us and we wanted to try it again.” Maybe Poland should have studied more Spanish highlight reels…
With the win, Spain will enter into the second qualification round, which will determine the seven teams (out of 14) that will dispute the U-21 Euro along with hosts Denmark next year. The draw for that round will take place on Sept. 10 and the games will be played Oct. 10-13. The Eurocopa tournament will determine the teams that get to play in the 2012 Olympic Games.