Spain has returned to Soccer City (now FNB Stadium) for the first time since winning the World Cup there on July 11, 2010. La Roja will play South Africa in a friendly tonight at 20h. Of the 23 players who were crowned champions with Spain on that unforgettable night, 15 have traveled with the team for this trip, and according to prognostics, VDB will try and play as many of them tonight as possible. There are six more (Puyol, Piqué, Xavi, Cesc, Torres, Silva) who could make the final list for Brazil. Only two (Capdevila, Marchena) no longer figure in VDB’s plans.
Just being back in South Africa brought back many memories for our team.
I thought it would be nice ahead of tonight’s clásico (and all the craziness that can arise from these games) to take a look back at how Real Madrid and Barcelona players (and other teams’ players) worked together to achieve the greatest triumph in Spanish football history. So, here is the chapter from Más secretos about the 2010 World Cup final.
By the way, are Luca Villa and Luca Reina destined to be best friends, or are they destined to be best friends?
We continue with this walk down memory lane – I am really loving reliving the excitement and joy we felt during the World Cup, because when it was actually happening, it was too nerve-wracking and suspenseful! Today, we see how Spain successively beat Portugal, Paraguay and Germany to set up a final showdown with The Netherlands.
And we continue with the chapter “Champions of the World” in Más secretos de la Roja! In this excerpt, we find out what went on before and after the games against Switzerland, Honduras and Chile.
Switzerland (June 16, Moses Mabhida, Durban).
Spain and Switzerland were the last teams to play out of the 32. Spain used the same formula for the game. It had the ball and frequently got close to the rival goal. Arbeloa said, “I remember that 15 minutes into the game, I told Albiol that if we continued like this, no one could beat us. We were playing so well…” But the minutes passed and the goal didn’t come. In the 51st minute, Switzerland scored a goal. Casillas said, “the game could be summed up in that play. It was a real misfortune.” To make matters worse, Piqué suffered a cut above his eye and needed two stitches. Iniesta lost feeling in the back of his right thigh after receiving a blow and had to be taken out: “I was quite scared. I thought I had suffered something more serious than what I really had.”
Here’s the rest of La Roja Por Dentro, which are the last three chapters and the epilogue by Pepe Reina. Speaking of Pepe Reina, this book was just as bad as his book. I really wouldn’t recommend either of them, since I didn’t like the writing, and I didn’t learn anything new!
Chapter IV: The Convocatoria.
In this chapter, Silvia describes each of the players called up by VDB for the World Cup and the following convocatorias. In other words, it’s a boring chapter. Here are the best tidbits from the 57 pages of the chapter, which are not distributed evenly. For example, Iker got eight pages, and Pedro less than half a page.
– Iker is one of the “experts” in coming up with nicknames for everyone. Damián García, one of the utilleros, was named “Tiriti” because he’s a deejay on the weekends and always humming “tirititititi” and Iker heard that. Damián has known Iker since the latter was 15.
Like many of us, Sergio and Iker watched the draw for next year’s Eurocopa on Friday afternoon. Spain was drawn in Group C, along with Ireland, Croatia and Italy. Thus, our defense of Iker’s favorite trophy will begin in Gdansk, Poland. And Iker was obviously forced into posing like this by Sergio.
More anecdotes, stories and reflections on the World Cup…
Sergio Ramos is the official DJ of the Spanish national team. He took control of the music in the Eurocopa, and was a total success. However, in South Africa, there were players who didn’t like the Caribbean music that Ramos based his compilations on. At the head of the line was Joan Capdevila: “it was quite weak, to tell you the truth,” he said (Joan prefers Barricada and Offspring, but sings Sergio Dalma’s “Bailar pegados” at karaoke). Regardless, Sergio’s music overcame the detractors. One of chosen tracks was Elvis Crespo’s “Píntame.” During the tournament, the players didn’t want to talk about the music they were listening to in the locker room or on the bus, but on the airplane ride back, we found out what was their song of the World Cup, thanks to Pepe Reina, David Villa and Sergio Ramos.
Elvis Crespo himself didn’t know that one of his songs was used to motivate the Spanish national team. It was his wife who informed him. Maribel Vega saw the name of her husband trending on twitter and how it was linked to the return of the world champions to Spain. Crespo told newspaper Primera Hora, “all the eyes of the world were on this team for winning an event as big as the World Cup, and this was also the first time Spain had won. And they were celebrating with my song. I feel indestructible.” The song was written in 1998, when Sergio Ramos was only 12 years old.
More anecdotes and memories of one year ago, during Spain’s ultimately successful run in the World Cup.
Rafa Nadal on the Swiss game
I watched the first game of the World Cup, in which Spain faced Switzerland, in the house that I rent each year that is situated a few minutes away from the All England Club of London. In the hours prior to the match, I had my first contact with the grass of the Aorangi Club and it had gone well for me. My uncle Toni and my fisio Rafael Maymó were there. My friend Feliciano López also came to watch the game, as he also rented a house next to Wimbledon and we usually got together to watch Spain play. From my point of view, as a fan of football, the defeat was totally unjust if you analyze all 90 minutes. The conclusion I got was that it was down to bad luck…