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finally, some La Roja news!

… well in a couple of hours, that is.

Today, Vicente del Bosque will reveal the list of players he will be taking to Liechtenstein on Sept. 3 for Euro 2012 qualifying, and to Argentina on Sept. 7 for a friendly.  With regards to the World Cup winning team, we should see the return of Andrés Iniesta and Pepe Reina, and the absences of Javi Martínez (who has returned to the U-21 team) and Raúl Albiol (out with a leg injury).  Fernando Torres should be called up, but it will be up to him to decide whether he will join or not.  If he decides to continue with his recovery, Santi Cazorla may be called up instead.

And speaking of the World Cup, Spain and Portugal are currently bidding to jointly host the 2018 or 2022 edition, with good friends, former teammates and former country captains Raúl and Figo as official ambassadors.  And to help their cause, they’ve also enlisted a number of other familiar faces.


la otra selección – los utilleros

Antonio Guerra (left), Damián García (center) and Joaquín Retamosa (right) are the three utilleros, literally prop managers.  They’re the ones in charge of all the clothing, equipment and other materials the team needs and brings along with them wherever they go, as well as distributing all that clothing and equipment to the team, and keeping things organized.

In South Africa, the team took along with them 3,000 kg of official La Roja wear (see a breakdown here.  Looking back, I wonder how much use the swimsuits got?).  Then there was a couple of thousands of kilos of other material, including press materials, medical supplies…  At least this time, they didn’t have to bring any food, as most of the produce was locally sourced.

Damián García is the most veteran of the three, with 24 years of experience, and this World Cup was his fifth.  He worked with the youth teams before, and has his own transportation company.  After the World Cup, he got to be the person who inaugurated the celebrations held by the town of Candelario (Salamanca) in honor of their patron Santa Ana on July 21.  He was also named a favorite son of Sorihuela (Salamanca).

Antonio “Toni” Guerra is in charge of packing the suitcases (sacks and containers) with all the game wear, the training wear, winter clothing if necessary, underwear…  The only things the players themselves are in charge of are their own shinguards and boots (five pairs each in South Africa), plus their personal effects, of course.

Joaquín Retamosa is the third equipment manager, and the newest one.  He joined in 2008, after Vicente del Bosque took over.

Watch a video of Toni talking about his job here, and keep reading for more information on the clothing, as well as descriptions of all 23 players, according to the utilleros!

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the hair awards

Remember Ramiro Fernández, the unofficial official barber of the national team?  Marca, once again showing how much of a serious paper they are, decided to get his opinion on the hairstyles of each of the players!  We also find out a little about what went on behind the scenes, hair version, so I won’t complain too much about the newspaper!

For example, he cut the hair of 19 of the players before the Germany came, and was surprised by how unified they were.  Ramiro says they were “una piña.”  And that the players are up to date with the latest trends, styles, fashions, and they made him work hard.  Ramiro says he recommended to Andresito that he should grow his hair out a little, because having an almost shaved head made him look older, but when he scored that goal, all he could do was shut up.  Ramiro compares Fernando Torres to Apollo, and says Sergio Ramos is most knowledgeable when it comes to coordinating his hairstyle, clothes, body and personality [I would say that Sergio might be the most concerned about this, but he still might need a bit of help in that area].  Ramiro adds that the cornrows looked good on Sergio, and says that Puyol’s hair gives him strength and that he would never touch it.  As for Iker, Ramiro has this to say:  the beard made him stand out.  He got tired of having it and he shaved, but it grew back quickly.

Read on to see Ramiro’s opinion on each player!

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¡campeones! – la resaca

The day ended at Mesón Txistu, where the players had dinner with their friends and family.  And then it was on to the nearby New Garamond club for a private celebration with friends and family.  According to this interview, there were also a lot of Z-list people there as well.  What a strange combination!

And with that, the 2010 World Cup for Spain came to an end.  I would say it was successful, no?

Anyway, here are the rest of the things the resulted from the victory in South Africa.

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¡campeones! – el gran Pepe Reina

The Pepe Show was just one part of the fiestón, but probably the part everyone had been anticipating since the last one ended on June 30, 2008.  Thankfully, Spain won the World Cup so we could get to hear the all new version of The Pepe Show.

Pepe had the crowd in his pocket as soon as he was handed the microphone.  His first words, after greeting the crowd, were “¡os quiero la hostia!”  Then he did the 300 chant with the players: “Spartans!  What is your profession?  Ha-ooh!  Ha-ooh!  Ha-ooh!”  This has become something of a rallying cry for the team.  Then Pepe thanked everyone – every person at the scene, people watching at home…  And he made sure to thank the entire team – all the staff that was up there on the stage with them.

And then it was time for the presentation of the players one by one.  Note: some of the translations don’t work well in English, and other things are probably private jokes amongst the players, so they don’t make any sense to the rest of us.

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¡campeones! – el fiestón

The players arrived a little after 23h, and wasted no time in dancing as soon as they got on the stage (it probably helped that they were handed more bottles of beer as they made their way up, which they drank from and sprayed on each other).  I loved that the entire team was there, and by entire team I mean the players, the coaching staff and all the RFEF employees.  The MC was Spanish comedian/actor Carlos Latre, and the crowd filling the Explanada del Rey numbered about 300,000.  Earlier in the afternoon, city officials and police asked people to stop heading there, because it was already filled to capacity.

The players danced while they waited for Iker to come on stage (he was being interviewed by RTVE with Iniesta – pobrecito had no voice left – and Xavi).  And after the Cup arrived in Iker’s hands, they continued dancing, some in pairs, some in a line, while the crowd chanted the usual (although for most of them, dancing equaled jumping up and down).

Iker was the first one handed the microphone to make a speech (the crowd chanted Iker, Iker) and he said that he was happy to be there with everyone, happy for all the people on the stage, and happy to make their dream come true.  He then added that he was proud to be the captain of the team, although they’re a bunch of cabrones and they’re always screwing around with him, but he doesn’t care.  ¡Viva Iker!

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¡campeones! – parade time

From the act at Moncloa, the team boarded an open top bus that would take them through the streets of Madrid.  The bus read “el poder de la roja conquista el mundo” (the power of la roja conquers the world) on the side.  And for the next several hours, the bus wound its way through some of the most emblematic places in Madrid, such as the Plaza de España or Cibeles.  If you’ve never been to Madrid, I’m sure you’d want to go now after seeing some of the most beautiful spots in the city.  The bus started at Moncloa, and ended at the Puente del Rey.

As soon as the players got on the bus, they started opening cans of beers.  While they were parked at Moncloa, they kept signing things – shirts, balls, flags – that people were throwing up onto the bus.  And then the parade started – the bus went very slowly through Madrid because at times the streets were completely blocked with people, and the police had to clear people away before the bus could proceed.  And the people weren’t only on the ground – they were also on balconies, in trees, hanging off scaffolding, standing on top of trucks and newspaper kiosks.  Increíble.  There were various reports as to how many people were actually out on Madrid’s streets cheering on the team, from 500,000 to 2.5 million.

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… because you know you want to hear and see it one more time

Here’s a video I uploaded from Cuatro, with fantastic scenes from the celebration set to Shakira’s Waka Waka.

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