I just wanted to finish this book, so I could put it away, never look at it again, and only take it out again when I’m feeling sadistic, so here’s the rest of El mundo en nuestras manos!
Today’s advent treat!
In part two of the chapter on the porra (part one can be found here), we get to see some of the results! Were they what you expected?
In Austria [2008 Eurocopa], Iker and Pepe both played individually, and teamed up as a duo, although their predictions as a duo were a complete failure. Sergio García won the first prize that summer, attributing his win to his head, and a bit of luck. He had predicted that Spain would win all their games and that Villa would be the pichichi. All in all, that summer was quite the success for Sergio García, because he won the porra (pocketing €1,050), he won money playing pocha and Spain won the Eurocopa. Rubén de la Red was second (winning €630) and Pedro Cortés came in third (taking home €420).
In South Africa for the Confederations Cup, Vicente del Bosque & Paco Jiménez jointly shared the first prize of €1,150, while Antonio Limones was second, winning €690 and Xavi came in third for €460.
For the World Cup porra, the winners were Piqué and Mata (tied for first) and Capdevila (third).
And now, some anecdotes about the porra:
I think this is a chapter that everyone has been eagerly anticipating, no? So I’ll skip the lengthy introduction and get right to it!
Chapter 9: DJ Ramos
– Sergio Ramos always had a set of speakers, a laptop and an iPod in his suitcase. In the beginning, he only used them in his room or in the Cíber. But the positive reaction of his teammates led him to ask Luis Aragonés if they could listen to music in the locker room before and after training sessions and games, as they changed. Luis: “I told him that they could play music while they were changing, but when they were ready to go onto the field, they had to turn it off.”
– Sergio has always viewed music as a stimulus and a motivation. At Sevilla, it was welcome, and at Madrid as well, though Capello didn’t like it too much (good thing then that Madrid kept on changing coaches!) For the national team, Sergio has made his first attempt in the 2006 World Cup. However, the locker room in Kamen where they were staying was too small to fit all of them, so the team was divided in two, and music could be heard in only one of the locker rooms, the one where the “Mesa de Triana” changed. [That would be Reyes, Joaquín, Reina, Torres, Juanito, Marchena and Sergio.]
Before we start, a really cute video of Puyol’s goal recreated with Lego blocks. Lego Iker wears a helmet and Lego Puyol even has longer hair than the rest!
July 9, 2010.
Friday was our last full day in Potchefstroom! I can’t believe the World Cup is ending!
There was a gym session in the morning, and then Sergio Busquets and Carlos Marchena were trotted out in front of the press. Biscuits was asked how the robbery he suffered has affected him, and he said no one likes it when that happens, but there’s nothing you can do, especially when it happens before the game and that you can’t get distracted. He added that he would exchange his wallet for the World Cup. Video of those declarations here. Meanwhile, Carlos talked about his and Spain’s winning streak – I believe it’s now at 55 – and was asked if he’s spoken with the coach about this. His reply was that he never thought anything needed to be said to the coach.
In the closed training session at 18:30h, the team’s last in Potchefstroom, they practiced tactics and plays. Vicente del Bosque gave no indication as to his starting lineup for Sunday’s game, although Fernando Torres seems destined to start the game on the bench, with what was his position to be taken by either Pedro or David Silva.
After the session, various players, including Sergio, Xabi and Raúl Albiol returned to the gym for more work.
Looking ahead and other notes
– Looking ahead to today: the team will say goodbye to everyone in Potch and thank them for their affection and support in the morning, then travel to Johannesburg via bus where they will stay at the Hotel Da Vinci. After lunch and a siesta, they’ll train in Soccer City in the late afternoon (evening to most people, but not Spaniards), and then Vicente del Bosque and the two captains of the team, Xavi and Iker, will speak to the press. Finally, Iker decides to talk!
– Looking ahead to Sunday: the RFEF has invited to the final those four footballers who dropped off Vicente del Bosque’s list at the last moment: Santi Cazorla, Diego López, Marcos Senna (see below for an interview) and Dani Güiza. I can’t wait to see them! However, I’m hearing that Dani’s club Fenerbahçe will not let him go (they’re having their preseason now, but Dani is training separately due to bursitis. Rubén de la Red was also invited, but he was already in South Africa – you can see him in the video here.
Prince Felipe and Princess Leti will also be there, but JCI will not. As I said yesterday, Rafa Nadal will be there as well, and now we have confirmation that Pau Gasol will also travel to South Africa.
And if Spain wins the World Cup, the trophy could be presented to them by none other than Nelson Mandela – he’s one of my heroes and I’ve missed seeing him during the course of the tournament, thank goodness Cristiano met him or else we wouldn’t have seen any of him!
– And on Monday, the plane carrying the Spanish team will arrive back in Madrid at 11:40h. They’ll visit the royal family and La Moncloa (the office of the president of the country), and attend the the parade along the Río Manzanares starting around 19h. They’ll finish up the night with dinner at Mesón Txistu.
– One of our new favorites (well, I’ve always liked her), Queen Sofía continued with her tour of South Africa by scoring a goal, watch it here.
– Xavi, Villa and Iniesta are on the list of 10 players fighting for World Cup MVP trophy.
– And back in Spain, this is how Cibeles and Neptuno are currently dressed! (For non-Real Madrid/Atleti fans: the Plaza of Cibeles (left) is where Real Madrid celebrates all their championships, while the Plaza de Neptuno (right), down the street, is where Atleti fans celebrate their team’s successes).
The press round-up after the jump!
In case you missed it – Spain vs. Germany, July 7, 2010.
One. The game started with a warm-up, and so will we. Here’s Iker almost looking like he’s dancing.
Two. Before we got to the goal, there were various things that frustrated our players, and here are some of their reactions. Pepe’s not happy with what’s going on in the game, and tries to direct the flow. Iker shouts “puta madre” (see, it’s not only the Cuatro people that can lip read). See what else he does here (I love his reaction to the goal, and I’m surprised he still had a voice after the game with all the shouting he did during the game. I also wonder if I can apply to be the person whose job it is to keep the camera trained on Iker?) Geri tries to get someone’s attention. And Xabi grimaces. Side note: Xabi needs a haircut. Exhibit A below, exhibit B here.
Lots more, including celebrations, tight shirts, families and kisses!
We’re already on Chapter 6 – “The cyber café of room 422”! I’m fully expecting another book to be released about our boys and their 2010 adventures in South Africa, so let’s see how fast we can finish this one!
This chapter is another favorite, because we really get to see how close the guys are.
– Room 422 refers to the room of Joan Capdevila. It was their first day at the hotel in Neustift, Austria: “when I entered the room for the first time, I thought they had given me the wrong one. I thought it was Iker’s room, and since my last name begins with the same letter as his, they got confused.” (The captains usually get the biggest rooms during the camps.) So he went back down to reception, and it was confirmed that 422 was indeed his room.
– After that, he went to find Santi Cazorla to see if all the rooms were like his. He saw that Santi’s room was much smaller. And Santi stared open-mouthed at Joan’s room and declared, “we’re going to play pochita here at night!”
– The room was the size of an apartment: it had an enormous salon, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. There were a total of six beds.
– Joan’s room became known as “el Cíber” and became the place to be for the components of the team. A visit was practically mandatory after every game, where the guys would analyze and re-analyze the games. They also talked about life, cars, girls…
– It started with the guys playing pocha, and then others joined in to take advantage of the wi-fi connection: Silva, Navarro, Sergio, Juanito. They would use the connection to surf the Internet, chat, talk with friends and families. Silva said he was one of the regulars.
– Sergio: “we could be there just hanging out until two or three in the morning. Without realizing it, at least 10 of the players would get together. I brought my laptop with music to add to the ambiance.”