“Rhythm, rhythm, rhythm!” Shout out to the coaching staff at Spanish selection When players do a drill they mix rounds by definition into small targets. They demand, “Quick, quick!” , knowing that the game with one or two touches always makes the opponent uncomfortable, knowing that the accuracy of possession and passing is the hallmark of La Roja. Also because during the early days it was a jet lag It was very noticeable, nights of interrupted and interrupted sleep. But this assertiveness and this intensity is already the daily bread of footballers, who accumulate double sessions – usually on the field in the morning and in the gym in the afternoon – at their headquarters in Palmerston North (New Zealand) in the hope that one day he will give his starting signal world (09.30; La 2 and RTVE Play). “The players put a lot of demands on themselves and the training sessions were very intense,” explains coach Jorge Vilda. “It was a great preparation. Now we have to know how to manage the pressure, ”confirms second captain Esther Gonzalez.
After playing their last pre-season match against Vietnam, where Spain dislodged the opposition (9-0), the team traveled on a regional trip from Auckland to Palmerston North on Saturday. Just over an hour to enjoy a free Sunday day to unplug and recharge their legs as everyone did what they wanted, mainly walking along the banks of the Manawatu River as well as through The Square Park. Of course, it wasn’t the already popular games that were made virus – a card game in which diseases must be spread or healed – and brandy, a kind of parcheesi with cards. But on Monday they restored routine at the Centenary Institution of Massey University, where every day about 30,000 students attend the different student branches and where Spain trains on two fields of natural grass, which, due to the constant rain, have spoiled a bit. . Before, however, they were welcomed by the local authorities and prominent members of the Māori community, who engaged in speeches and colorful work with tools musical instrumentswhich according to tradition is considered a unique way to communicate with the history and spirit of their people, as well as songs from the choir manu kora.
But the feast did not last long. More than anything else because in addition to the double sessions – they brought in countless boxes from Madrid with all the materials -, they had already watched videos of opponents in the group stage, practiced strategic play and honed more of the 4-3-3 that they intend to use the specific as a basis. He pointed out that “although we are not closed to any system.” By the way, the stakes in training sessions are a bunch because the team or player who loses the practice has to sing or dance in front of everyone at some point during the day. “Fortunately, as a team we have a common goal, they all have the same idea and mentality. We know what we are coming for. We are strong and united, ”Ester Gonzalez decides.
Among them is also Alexia Potellas, the winner of the last Golden Ball, who was able to participate for a few minutes at the end of the season with Barcelona after recovering from a torn knee ligament, and also left the match in a friendly match before. world Cup. “Starting the engines in New Zealand,” the soccer player wrote on social media, to stop the fuss about her health, as she had spent several days training separately, experiencing discomfort. But she did it already with the group, vitamins for the team because her fame—in Aviles, where they played a friendly, they could hardly let her walk the same way they recognize her at Palmerston though she wears a hoodie—is in with the soccer ball.
But the preparation does not stop there, because among the coaching staff, consisting of 31 people, has traveled podiatrist, Javier Alfaro, who is trying to revise and improve the footballers’ best weapon, the feet; In addition to the nutritionist, Gonzalo Garria, who deals individually with the diets and nutritional supplements of the players, both in the intake of drinks and food. It happens, however, that on this occasion, Chef Luigi was unable to bring in food from Spain because New Zealand does not allow food into the country. But at Copthorne – the hotel where the team stayed, all the players in single rooms, and which is only four miles from the university – nothing is missing.
In contrast to the frenetic pace of the team, Palmerston North is quiet, away from the potential hustle and bustle of the World Cup as it is not a tournament venue. There are no billboards advertising it, no ardent fans. Although the World Cup is followed by the Sky Series, which is constantly bombarded with reports on the teams.
Palmerston North is a city with a lot of traffic, because for some reason it is the largest in Manawatu and Wanganui with a population of about 80,000, it is also the second largest landlocked city in New Zealand. And so, between enormous rain-watered lawns and classrooms packed with students, and among single-family homes barely dotted with buildings, the team continued its preparations before the start of the World Cup. Along the way, there was an afternoon of autographs for home fans, a photo session organized by FIFA all of the team together and each player for lineups and goals on TV, and several moments of interest in the press. Yesterday, however, Spain took the bus to travel to Wellington, a journey of just over an hour and a half between winding roads winding in endless fields of glistening grass – there is no day that does not sparkle a little – where sheep are swarming, and dotted. With barren mountains (but green of course) or lush groves. At the end of the road, the Pacific Ocean looks majestic.
After making a reconnaissance visit to the Sky Stadium – a sponsorship that FIFA took to return it to its old name: Wellington Regional Stadium – and the press conference of the coach and Esther Gonzalez, the players held the last session at Newton Park so as not to penalize the turf where the match will be played. That would be against Costa Rica, the first World Cup bid they’ve come to just in time.
Jorge Vilda: “We have to be the best as in the lower levels”
Vilda wants to win, but she cares about how. “We have a style that is known and recognized all over the world. There is a lot of expectation in what we can do, which is a privilege and an added motivator. We want to win, play well and show what Spain is like, with our attractive game,” he explained. Although history says that the team has never won a tie in the major tournaments. “In the lower categories, we are by far the best in the world. Which is absolutely what we lack.” For starters, it’s Costa Rica.
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