Saturday, June 5, 2010

Surprise Selections (and other news) from Group H -- the Spanish Speakers (Plus Switzerland)

This is the Spanish-speaking group plus Switzerland, or the offensive-minded group, plus Switzerland, but no matter how you slice it or dice it, it's Spain with everybody else fighting for second. The latest news, in the approximate order of finish:


On paper, Spain is the favorite to win the whole tournament but Cup aficionados know that something always goes wrong for the Spanish and that subsequently they've never gone past the quarters. Historians tend to attribute the team's lack of good fortune to its traditional lack of unity, which reflects the nation's atomized regions. (Hence the European joke, "Three Spaniards, four opinions.")

The talk beforehand was that with a side dominated by Catalans, this wouldn't be as much of an issue this time. Think again: Pedro (Barcelona) is unhappy because he had to draw lots with Javi Martinez (Athletic Bilbao) as to who would get stuck with the unwanted Number 2 jersey and lost - not that anyone on the Spanish team is superstitious of course. Then coach Vincente Del Bosque cracked the whip and banned his players from Twitter and Facebook during the Cup, which leaves much of the team wondering what to do with all the time it now has on its hands. Other than squabbling, of course.

For more, read here:

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