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.
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.”
POSTED UPDATED WITH MORE PICTURES & FUN MOMENTS!
La Roja is back together again! On the agenda for Wednesday: meet at Las Rozas, receive some honors from the CSD, training session in the afternoon (which I’ll write about later), and just hanging out together and enjoying each other’s company.
Picture via Fer’s twitter…
A round-up of where everyone is: Cesc tweeted that he’ll be going to Indonesia (Jakarta and Bali) but has been spotted in the south of France with a new girl, Fernando Llorente has finished with California and is now in Arizona (he needs to get a better camera though, those pictures are tiny! Cesc also visited the Grand Canyon) with Las Vegas as the next stop, Carles Puyol is back in Barcelona continuing with his rehabilitation work, Sergio Ramos is on vacation with friends, David Villa was just in Asturias to pick up the “2010 best athlete award” from the Asturian sports press association, Borja Valero’s been busy tweeting photos of food in Ibiza, Iker’s taking “only” one week off and Pepe Reina is in Ibiza, on vacation and recovering! Where is he going to put the “Luca” tattoo?
Several days ago, Marca started running a series to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the greatest triumph in Spanish football – the World Cup – to coincide with the month that Spain spent in South Africa. Each day, they dedicate several pages of the newspaper to looking back at what happened and revealing new anecdotes. So, here are the interesting and perhaps previously unknown things that they’ve published so far.
Bit by bit, we’re getting to see how our footballers have decided to spend their summer vacations. Fernando Llorente posted on his Facebook that he’s on the west coast of the U.S. (in California; he finally found something taller than him), and Xabi Alonso has been sighted in New York (David Silva is presumably around there as well). Borja Valero’s in paradise, and we’ve seen Iker in Mexico, and now in Chile. He didn’t get to meet the presidents of either country, but he did hang out with the first ladies.
Praise San Iker!
By the way, the rest of Iker’s outfit consisted of khaki pants and white sneakers.
Meanwhile, both Carles Puyol and Andrés Iniesta chose to go somewhere sunny and near the sea…
The latest trip is over, and it’s time to say hasta luego to our boys as a team for two months. However, we do get to say hola to La Rojita!
The national team – with the exception of Iker, Fernando Llorente and David Silva, who stayed behind in Venezuela – returned to Madrid yesterday afternoon from Caracas, after an eight-hour flight (before that, they had a 30-minute Barcelona-Caracas flight). We got to see most of the players in street clothes again (there were some exceptions, such as Sergio, Carlos, Joan, Bruno…), which is not necessarily a good thing…
Xabi was his usual boss self, while striding through the airport, Macbook in hand, and David and Pedro repeated parts of the outfits they showed up at Las Rozas wearing. Meanwhile, Joan and Carlos settled some money issues, Gerard wore his Steve McQueen shirt (unfortunately, Álvaro didn’t wear his matching one) and Víctor looked like he’d rather be anywhere else than the airport – that’s quite a David Villa expression he has on!
Thoughts from (birthday boy) Iker and Andrés, modeling shots from Gerard Piqué, Fernando Llorente, Xabi, Villa, Cazorla and others, VDB wins a special award, Javi (!!!) goes back to school, and more!
on whether the national team will be weakened by everything that happened: No. When the Liga and the Champions end, everything related to the clásicos will be forgotten. I was with Villa in an event and I understand why we’re asked about the national team, because each one looked out for his own interests during 20 days as if we were in a war.