MY EMOTIONS STILL ON XAVSTER LEAVING BARCA
@ 1st it was like
Don’t Lie 2 me
When Realization sank in it was all Down Hill & Mixed Emotions:
I am still looking forward to seeing our champions perform and say goodbye to the world cup today. VIVA ESPANA
WHERE IT ALL WENT WRONG FOR SPAIN
Damn this lady again
OH SPAIN. COULD THIS GET ANY WORST-ER?!
Xavi follows Puyol and Valdés out the door
Xavi’s illustrious Barcelona career will come to an end in the next few weeks. He will be the third ‘azulgrana’ captain to depart this summer, following Víctor Valdés and Carles Puyol. The Catalan midfielder will soon be handing in his Barça jersey after having signed a pre-contract with Qatari side Al Arabi.
Xavi’s new coach, Dan Petrescu, broke the news: “Xavi has signed a pre-contract with us. Other clubs were interested in him, but our offer has convinced him. I’ve spoken to him personally on the phone.” The former Chelsea player added that Al Arabi will pay him around €8m for every six months of competition.
Cesc told MARCA about his friend’s decision to leave the Camp Nou: “He and Puyol want to step out of the limelight, spend more time with their families and enjoy a less demanding lifestyle.”
The midfielder will leave the Camp Nou after scoring 81 goals in 723 matches over 16 seasons. The most decorated player in Barça’s history boasts a glittering list of honours: two Club World Cups, three Champions Leagues, two European Super Cups, seven leagues, two Copas del Rey and six Supercopas.
Bayern Munich coach Josep Guardiola will fly to Brazil to see Lionel Messi after Argentina’s clash with Nigeria on 25th June, according to newspaper ‘Sport’.
"The player and coach established such a tight relationship [during the coach’s time at Barcelona], that Guardiola intends to meet up with the player after the Argentina-Nigeria match on 25th June," reported the Spanish newspaper.
"According to sources near to the coach, Guardiola’s plan is to go down to the dressing room after the game and meet with the player," added ‘Sport’.
Guardiola will be in Buenos Aires the day after in order to give a talk entitled ‘The World Cup in Pep’s Eyes’ at the Luna Park stadium.
Spain coach Vicente del Bosque has revealed that his players have come to terms with their humiliating defeat to Holland in their opening World Cup game and are ready to bounce back against Chile.
The 5-1 thumping the European and world champions received at the hands of the Dutch, who they defeated in the last World Cup final, was the shock of the tournament so far.
Del Bosque said after the game that the result was “unexplainable” while midfielder Xavi Hernandez said it was the worst defeat of his entire career.
However, Del Bosque has explained that time has been a healer for his side, who are now desperate to compensate for the defeat by beating Chile and then Australia in their remaining Group B matches.
"Everyone feels that we are capable of turning things around," the coach told Spanish television channel Cuatro.
"Many hours have passed and our spirits are higher. We now have to win our next two games, which won’t be easy, but is within the realms of possibility. We are searching for the best possible preparation and we are trying to make sure the players are not sad, we have to enjoy ourselves."
Del Bosque also insisted he did not see the debacle against Holland coming, explaining that the team had prepared well for the tournament and made a positive start to the game.
"We’ve been training well ever since we arrived. Everything has been perfect, and the first half against Holland went well, what was worrying was the second half. But now the players are optimistic again."
The coach refused to apportion the blame on any of his players, saying that “everyone is in perfect condition”, but said he could make up to three changes for the Chile game, “for the best interests of the team”.
Captain Iker Casillas admitted to the press that he had performed badly against Holland but Del Bosque did not reveal whether or not the Real Madrid stopper would be removed from the starting line-up.
An injury to Manchester United’s David de Gea means Del Bosque can only call upon Pepe Reina should he decide to drop Casillas.
"If we make changes we won’t be pointing the finger at anyone," he added.
"No-one should be alarmed by any changes we make, all the players have our support. We are in this situation and we have to manage it. We are flexible but we are also going to keep doing several things in the same way."
- Spain may have to lose their tiki-taka style if they are to progress further in the World Cup
- Vicente del Bosque must decide whether to change his team’s style mid-tournament
- Fernando Torres and Andres Iniesta are prepared to play ‘any way’ to get a win
- Del Bosque claims Spain will do things the same way but can be ‘flexible’
In terms which his countrymen will understand only too well, the Spanish manager is on the horns of a snorting bull of a dilemma.
Stick or twist?
Vicente del Bosque - who describes his team’s 5-1 collapse against Holland at the opening of their title defence as ‘unexplainable’ – confronts a choice which he has no need to tell us is unenviable.
Del Bosque, who accepts his job will be on the line if they fail to qualify from the group, says: ‘Tactically it will be a different game from Holland because Chile are brave and quick and risk attacking all the time.’
Fernando Torres, a possible replacement for Diego Costa, says: ‘I hope we can win playing our style at a high level but if not we have to win any way we can.’
It is an enormous risk for any team to change tack in the midst of a major tournament. For the winners not only of the last World Cup but also two successive European Championships, a change so drastic will be condemned as heresy if it fails.
So far as the eve of a match which could be pivotal for the development of the world game as well the outcome of Brazil 2014, the word is only that Spain are in profound deliberation.
We are unlikely to get the verdict until an hour before the kick-off here, when del Bosque hands in his team sheet.
For ‘unexplainable’ and unenviable read unthinkable in the minds of many if he sacrifices the high priests of tiki-taka, Xavi and Xabi Alonso, on the altar of accelerated pace, urgency and aggression.
If the names of Pedro, the only real speed merchant at the Barcelona academy of possession football, and Koke, the midfield energizer of Atletico Madrid’s remarkable season, take their places then it will be new-game on.
Perhaps he has still to make up his mind. Maybe that was why he closed the doors of the Maracana to prying eyes after the first 15 minutes of Spain’s supposedly open training session there 24 hours before kick-off.
But he has laid the ground for such a possibility by saying: ‘If we make changes after what happened in the second half against Holland we won’t be pointing a finger at anyone. All the players have our support but we have to manage the situation we are in.
‘We are capable of turning things around. We will keep doing several things the same way – but we are flexible.’
Not unnaturally, given all their successes over the past six years, most of the players are defensive of a winning system.
Pepe Reina will be the beneficiary if del Bosque comes to the conclusion that Jose Mourinho was probably right all along and drops Iker Casillas after his horror show against the Dutch. Liverpool’s goalkeeper says: ‘This team is not dead. We will reverse the notion that this is the end of an era.’
Del Bosque, one of the finest managers of any epoch, will be more open-minded. Tiki-taka was not his creation but that of Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and Del Bosque is not as wedded to it as the man who has taken the style on with him to Bayern Munich.
This Spanish inquisitor is very much his own man. He will be wise to the trends here. He will be aware that at the start of play on Day Six of this tournament more than 40 goals had already been scored compared with barely 20 at the same stage in South Africa four years ago, where Spain beat Holland with the only goal of the final.
Del Bosque will be acutely aware of why this is happening. He has seen Germany amplify the alliance of power, pace and non-stop work-rate to high-technique, which is now one trademark of the game.
He was too close for comfort as Holland demonstrated another, counter-attacking at blistering speed.
Andres Iniesta summed it up best: ‘At times, as well as keeping the ball, we will have to be faster and more direct. Now we have to win anyhow that works.’
Chile are not unlike the Dutch in that tactic. Although not quite as adept on the break as Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben, these South Americans do have a deadly rapier of a forward in Alexis Sanchez and they work flat out to supply him with chances.
This is a dangerous game. So is changing a playing philosophy on the hoof.
Del Bosque may settle for injecting some additional quickness but without fundamentally altering Spain’s basic structure.
Such a compromise would be fraught in itself but if anyone can pull off this trick without falling between two stools it is The Manager From La Mancha.
Spain midfielder Andres Iniesta says that the defending champions must ready themselves for a fight when they tackle Chile in Wednesday’s make-or-break FIFA World Cup™ encounter in Rio de Janeiro.
Spain’s 5-1 drubbing by the Netherlands has left them in a vulnerable position in Group B and they will be eliminated if they lose to Chile and the Dutch avoid defeat against Australia.
Only three defending champions have previously fallen at the first hurdle - Brazil in 1966, France in 2002, and Italy in 2010 - and Iniesta knows that Spain face a challenge if they are to avoid inflating that statistic.
"Chile are a difficult team because we’ll have to defend and we’ll have to fight one against one," said the Barcelona midfielder, scorer of the decisive extra-time goal against Holland in the 2010 Final.
"We just hope those who play tomorrow (Wednesday) will be able to escape from their markers so we can find a way to win. We must be able to make the right passes, and look for those in space, so we can score goals.
"Sometimes we’ll have to be faster, other times we’ll have to control the ball, but we’ll just play it as a final, because only in that way will we be able to win against Chile. Our only goal right now is winning so we can go to the next phase. But we trust ourselves and we’re well equipped for that."
Chile adapt for La Roja challenge
Chile won 3-1 against Australia in their first game and have an aggressive, possession-based style reminiscent of Spain in their pomp. Coach Jorge Sampaoli has admitted that Spain’s capitulation to the Dutch will influence his side’s approach to the game at the Maracana, but he is wary of writing off a team who are chasing a fourth consecutive major tournament victory.
"We had already developed a system before the World Cup and we already knew before the World Cup how we’d play against Spain," said the Argentine, whose side have lost only twice in their last 16 games.
"Obviously after watching Spain against Holland, we’ve considered minor changes, but Spain didn’t deserve such a defeat. They were much better in the first half, but many things went against them that made them lose the way they lost.
"There’s nothing I can tell you right now, but we’ll try to use a system that allows us to hurt a team that needs to win to stay in the championship. Don’t forget they lost against Switzerland in their opening game at the last World Cup, but still became champions.”