Informe Robinson: Campeones del Mundo VPosted: July 7, 2011
Narrator: Germany awaits Spain. The semifinal is just one day away and Carles Puyol is not fit to play.
Carles Puyol: I was having some discomfort in my gluteal muscles and they just kept getting worse and worse. I kept training and training until the last day and when I finished the training session, I went to Raúl, the physio, and told him, “I have to go talk to el mister, because I won’t be able to play, it hurts here, I don’t feel good, I can’t, I can’t play,” and then he said to me, “Why don’t you just let me do what I think needs to get done, and then see how it feels after that?” So when the training session was over, I went to a treatment session with him, and thanks to him, I was able to play that day, and didn’t need to tell el mister to leave me out.
Javi Martínez: I’m one of those players who gets nervous before a big match and can’t sleep, but there were some, I can’t remember who, I think some of the ones from Barça, and they were so calm, playing ping-pong… and I thought, joder, if they’re so calm, then surely we’ve got it in the bag!
Gerard Piqué: I’m one of those players who can play ping-pong two hours before an important match, because you don’t need to spend all day visualizing the game, because in the end it makes your head get like this [holds his hand out]
Pedro Rodríguez: Well, Vicente began to talk to us a bit about the German team and what each of their players were like…
Vicente del Bosque: They were missing a key member of the team, Thomas Müller, one of the best German players in the tournament. I don’t think they had a complex about playing gainst us, but they definitely had respect for us as opponents.
Pedrito: And when he finished his talk and he read out the starting line-up, and I heard my name, it was a very special moment for me, you know?
Pepe Reina: I don’t know why, but Busquets and I understand each other. He’s a very easy person to motivate, and knowing that, I made it clear [to him] that this was going to be his match.
Sergio Busquets: It was my turn to dance with Özil. I remember, before the match, Pepe Reina talking to me about him…
PR: I told him, “Busi, you have to eat Özil up today and have him as a tasty snack. He will have nightmares about you for the rest of his life. You will be the key that determines whether or not we win today.”
Xavi Hernández: It was a great move on Vicente’s part to start Pedro. He gave us that intensity, that pressure, that enthusiasm every time he touches the ball and every time he’s involved in a play.
VDB: And Pedro was stupendous.
XH: And at halftime, Puyi mentioned to me that we’d already taken three or four corner kicks, and suggested, “if you kick it to me right at the penalty spot, I can come running in, and we can definitely create some damage that way…”
CP: I mentioned to him the set piece that we like to do in Barcelona…
VDB: Mainly about how they defended corner kicks. I asked, so how do you do it And he said, well, we do it this way…
CP: And he said that it was fine, that if we had a clear idea of what to do, that we should go ahead and do it…
David Villa: And that’s exactly how the set piece worked out. My job was to distract the goalkeeper, Xavi’s to strike the ball coolly at just the right moment, and that of Piqué and the others to block [the German players]…
CP: I had a lot of space to gather momentum on my run up so that I could hit it hard, and I just trusted that Xavi had seen me to deliver the ball in the right place.
XH: When I struck the ball, I knew that it was going exactly where I intended to…
GP: I made a leap for it, but right at that moment, it was like an airplane flew right by me…
VDB: Xavi Hernández put his boot almost on top of Puyol’s head – he put the ball exactly where he wanted it.
XH: When I see the ball flying through the air and I see Puyi going for it, I said to myself, “Goal” [laughs]
[Xavi passes the ball to Pedrito, who runs with it and instead of passing it to Fernando Torres, loses the ball against a German defender]
Pedrito: It would seem like the most obvious pass to make, no? But the truth is, the only thing I could see was the goal, I thought I was completely alone, and also the feint had left me a bit disoriented, and all I can say is that it was a huge mistake. I asked Fernando to forgive me, I told him that I really did not see him at all, and he didn’t make too big a deal out of it; he understood, and now it’s just become an anecdote we tell…
FT: Well, luckily, we ended up winning, so the incident will be forgotten… I mean, I love Pedro, but in that moment, I could’ve killed him.
[Spain beats Germany with a score of 1-0 and moves on to the World Cup final]
SB: The first thing I did after the match ended, apart from celebrating, was run to Pepe Reina and give him a hug.
PR: He came to me after the game, winked at me, and said, “I ate him all up!” And I was like, “Yeah Busi, you completely devoured him!” It really was a spectacular game.
CP: I went to the physiotherapy room to ice my knee, and when they called me, I put my towel on and went out to greet the queen. That’s all. [Smiles]
GP: If you want to win trophies and titles, you need to keep a firm grip on your emotions – when you win, you can’t be too over-excited about it, and when you lose, you can’t get too depressed. And, Vicente is the best at that.
VDB: You can’t walk around overexcited and worried all the entire time, because at the end of the day, it’s just a game. It’s a joy to be able to play in a World Cup; we shouldn’t waste the experience by spending the whole day on edge and irritable. I think this group needed to hear that.
Silvia Dorschnerova: And Joachim Löw, the German coach, came over to shake our hands and congratulate us…
XH: After the match, when they had already been eliminated, he came up to me and thanked me, saying, “You guys are the best team in the world – no, not just the best team in the world, but the best team I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” I didn’t even know how to react to that… I just told him thank you, and that it had been an honor.
Narrator: Twenty-four hours before the final, Andrés Iniesta watched these images one last time before going to bed.
Raúl Martínez: There was a moment – one of those strange things that happens sometimes – during one of our last treatment sessions before the final, I remember seeing that everything was perfectly in place. I moved on to the next spot, and the next, and in all of them the same thing was true. I don’t know why I could see that everything was exactly where it should be that day, but it was the first day where I could really say that it all seemed to be in it’s place, you know?
AI: Oh, yeah? He never told me! [giggles] We talked about it… we would say to each other, “The World Cup final!”
XH: I have never felt as nervous as I did that day.
Xabi Alonso: I tried to do everything just as I would before any other match, but it was impossible.
XH: I couldn’t even take a nap that day! Can you believe it?
[Question to Piqué: Did you sleep?]
GP: Not very well…
XH: I wasn’t calm.
FT: It was a long journey to the stadium that day… although it probably felt longer than it actually was.
Juan Cota: The silence on the bus was incredible. I turned around and looked at the players, and it was like a communal meditation… a level of introspection and concentration that I’ve never seen in a team.
Álvaro Arbeloa: Not wanting to break the silence, we communicated via our Blackberries, even though we were sitting right next to each other.
Joan Capdevila: When you see the stadium at a distance, all lit up, you get an adrenaline rush that’s absolutely incredible, no?
Michael Robinson: And what did you say to the players? Now that you had reached the final, was there anything special you told them?
VDB: I don’t know, I think I talked about football.
PR: It wasn’t a particularly special talk, to be honest. But maybe that’s why it was so good, no? He just talked to us naturally, without any sort of patriotic “We play in the name of” message…
VDB: “It will be a tragedy if we don’t win, we have to defend our country’s honor”? No, none of that. It was more about the fact that we were going to play the most important match of our football careers. That’s all.
PR: We could win, we could lose, but if we remained true to ourselves and played good football, the match would be ours to lose, that’s it.
Toni Grande: Everyone was touched.
XH: He told us to dedicate this victory to all the children back in Spain who love football.
VDB: I think the word I used was “romantic,” because in many ways we’re football romantics; we love the game, and we believe that all things are possible in football… and we were standing on the verge of such a great opportunity.