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memories of South Africa

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.

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days 34 & 35 – to the semifinals!

Spain beat France for the first time in an official game!  And Xabi Alonso couldn’t have had a better 100th game with the national team – reaching that number was already an achievement in and of itself, and then he had to go score twice, lead his team to victory and qualify his country for the semifinals as well.  Muy, muy jefe.

Xabi was head and shoulders above everyone else, and not just literally…

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three and a half minutes with… VDB, Toni Grande & Jorge Pérez

Yay, the El País Q&As with Luis Martín are back!  This time around, they’re called “three and a half minutes with…” and it appears that the questions are as obscure as ever!  The first person to take the test was Vicente del Bosque.

1.  What makes you angry?  Disloyalty, but I understand how life is…

2. How much are chickens these days?  It’s been a while since I did the shopping.  And I liked it a lot.

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VDB reflects on that thing that happened one year ago

Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of Spain’s triumph in the World Cup.  Vicente del Bosque sat down with AS to take a look back, as well as one into the future, towards the 2012 Eurocopa.  He once again shows us that he’s made of pure class and goodness.

We’re one year older, but we’re world champions.  One year has passed since South Africa…

It seems like it was yesterday.   The time has gone by quickly, but we’ve managed to extend our success.  The national team has been impeccable in qualifying for the Eurocopa, and a Spanish team, Barcelona, was the champion of Europe.  Another, Real Madrid, deserved to play the final, but it wasn’t to be.  The U-21 team is the champion of Europe… Spanish football is enjoying good health, at least in the sporting aspect.

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Informe Robinson: Campeones del Mundo – the translation, part VI

Sadly enough, we’ve come to the end of Informe Robinson: Campeones del Mundo.  In this final part, the players reminisce about the final against the Netherlands, and provide their insights into the game.

Once again, a big thanks to Michelle and Jen who so kindly volunteered to translate this entire program – they did an excellent job, no?  Even the serial mumblers that we have on La Roja were no match for them!  And they also rendered the English so beautifully…

Clearly, Michelle is the Andrés and Jen the Iker of this series of translations.

Andrés Iniesta: I think the tunnel must be the absolute worst place to be in.

Gerard Piqué: You start to head down it, and you’re not even aware that you’re walking…

AI: I don’t know, the tunnel… it’s overwhelming. And in the distance, you could see the World Cup itself…

Joan Capdevila: You’re like, madre mía, there it is! And we’re just one step away from getting our hands on it!

GP: You have to hold the hand of the kid assigned to you, and he ends up pulling you along because you’re not reacting…

Sergio Busquets: They say that looking at the Cup will bring you bad luck, but… I looked at it. And I wanted it.

JC: I just can’t believe I’m right here, right now – it’s impossible, really –  a guy like me, playing in a World Cup final! The emotion makes you want to cry, but you have no idea why!

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let’s win here again*

Happy National Day Spain!  Hoy es el Día de la Hispanidad!

Well, Spain trained in Hampden Park last night, and it looks like they had a great time!

(So cute I put it in twice.  They remind me of an amusement park ride.)

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Toni Grande at Marca

Toni Grande says in this interview that it is probably the first personal interview he’s ever done.  And this is a man who has won the World Cup, the Spanish Liga and the Champions League as an assistant coach!  This once again shows how low-key the cast of characters that make up La Roja is, and if you read the interview, the humility is also once again reinforced.

I also like how the introduction went, so here it is, translated as well: you can ask him where there is a good restaurant in any corner of Spain.  He knows where.  He almost memorized the Guía Campsa during the years when he worked for the company.  In that time, he held more than one job, because he was also the coach of the youth teams of Real Madrid, for which he earned 7,000 pesetas.  You can also ask him about any player that La Roja might face, and he’ll give you all the details.  Toni Grande is Vicente del Bosque’s shadow, his loyal right hand man, his friend.  In reality, he’s much more than the person that sits next to Del Bosque on the bench.

Q:  Why do you always sit on Vicente del Bosque’s right?

A:  We have this mania.  Normally, it’s the coach that sits in the first seat, but in our case it’s me.  I wouldn’t call it superstition, but we’re not going to change it.

Q:  In what ways are you not his “segundo?”

A:  I’m older than him, I have a bit more hair and in the area of gastronomy.  Vicente eats more than me, but I have more curiosity.  From the time that we won the World Cup, I’ve added two kilos to my paunch.  All those celebratory meals have caught up to me.  The World Cup brought me a lot of joy, but I’ve had to pay for it.

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