Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 13th 2014 Contents SALVADOR---Spain s team is
creeping up in age and its core
of Barcelona players are coming
off a forgettable season.
Yet coach Vicente del Bosque
expects his defending champions
to hit form quickly against the
Netherlands in the World Cup
The rematch of the 2010 final,
won by Spain 1--0, provides
Group B with a riveting opener
that could have an impact on
each team s chances in Brazil.
"This is a mature team with
players in their prime. They
aren t here for what they have
achieved, but what they will
achieve," Spain coach Vicente
del Bosque said yesterday from
the Arena Fonte Nova.
Spain is the tournament s
most experienced squad, which
means key players such as Iker
Casillas, Xavi Hernandez, and
Xabi Alonso could be playing in
their final major championship.
But those veterans are not
ready for the winning run they
started at Euro 2008 to come to
an end in South America.
"Our team has a strong desire
to go as far as possible and to
defend this title, which won t
be easy. The pressure motivates
us," said Casillas, who led Real
Madrid to the Champions
League trophy despite playing
as a backup this season.
"Our objective is to always
beat the rivals in front of us and
make our country proud. Spain
will do everything possible to
Spain expects today s match
to have no resemblance to the
2010 final, won in extra-time
with Andres Iniesta s 116th-
"The Netherlands has
changed a lot in four years. Our
team has been stable over the
last four years compared to
them," Del Bosque said. "They ve
had some enormous changes."
Brazilian-born striker Diego
Costa is expected to start up
front for a Spain team that will
look all too familiar to those who
have watched it defend its Euro-
pean Championship trophy in
2012 after its maiden World Cup
win in South Africa.
So apart from the physical
presence of Costa in attack,
Spain should create most of its
chances against a defensive
Dutch team from a midfield that
is expected to include David
Silva, Cesc Fabregas and Sergio
"Our style is clear and we will
dominate the possession, and
hold the ball. Our philosophy
over these past years has been
clear," Xavi said. "Until the end
we will play that way. We will
win or (lose) behind that style
Barcelona s worst season in
six years apparently is not a con-
cern for Del Bosque, just as it
wasn t for former coach Luis
Aragones ahead of Euro 2008---
the last time Barcelona ended a
"There will be no relation
between the season Barcelona
had with the national team," Del
Bosque said. "Our players have
had a great season with their
Spanish clubs" in reference to
his players from Real Madrid
and Spanish champion Atletico
Del Bosque also expected Fab-
regas transfer from Barcelona
to Chelsea to have no effect on
his performances in Brazil.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Friday, June 13, 2014
Croatia or Brazil?
Nely Lopes Cachocira is Brazilian. Her husband,
Vlatko Zaimovic, is Croatian.
The couple from Montes Claros had a few mixed
emotions about yesterday's World Cup opener at Ita-
Lopes Cachocira sported a homemade beaded yel-
low tank top with half of each country's flag on front.
So, the debate: Who would win?
"Croatia," Zaimovic said.
"No, Brazil!" she shot back.
Meanwhile, one soccer fan who travelled from afar
jumped right on the Brazil bandwagon.
David Hunt, 55, of Cardiff, South Wales, made his
first trip out of Europe to attend the World Cup. He
decked himself out in Brazil gear from head to toe.
Literally. His socks featured the Brazilian flag.
"Because I like Brazil," he said yesterday morning.
"Everybody loves my socks."
And, of course, he was predicting a sixth champi-
onship for the proud home country.
SAO PAULO---For a Brazilian, a ticket to the World
Cup on home turf is priceless---even if you are sitting
in the last row of the stadium.
"It's incredible," said Felipe Turci, an 11-year-old
draped in yellow as he peered down upon the rest of
Itaquerao Stadium. "It's beautiful."
The temporary stands holding nearly 20,000 seats
were only recently approved because of safety con-
cerns. They were delayed mostly because of an acci-
dent earlier this year. They were installed so the
stadium could accommodate the more than 60,000
people for the opener.
Gabriel Ponce, a 21-year-old fan from Sao Paulo,
said he was initially hesitant to buy a seat in the
questionable grandstands. But now that he was
there, his mind was put to rest.
Fernanda Sanchez, also in the last row of the sta-
dium, said she would have preferred to be closer to
the action---and potentially safer---but would take
what she could get. At 160 Brazilian real (about $75),
she said it was the cheapest ticket available.
The World Cup managed to end Sao Paulo's seem-
ingly endless traffic jam---at least for a few hours. All
it took was for Brazil to play in the tournament
Few cars were on the streets two hours before the
host Selecao faced Croatia yesterday at the Itaque-
rao, the newly opened stadium on the eastern edge
of the city built for the Corinthians club team. There
was only a fraction of the usual pedestrian traffic.
Officials declared yesterday a holiday in Sao Paulo.
Some shops were shut, with gates pulled partially or
Still, there were some people walking around the
Paulista district downtown and a few sitting in cafes,
which had televisions on tuned to pregame shows. A
majority of those out wore yellow Brazilian home jer-
seys or blue road shirts.
Heavy security around the German camp on the
Atlantic coast is causing some friction among the
The Germans are based in a specially built complex
next to the village of Santo Andre, near Porto Seguro.
The base is being protected by Brazilian military po-
lice, along with personnel brought from Germany.
When the German team travels by bus to its fully
equipped (including floodlights) training ground---built
on a nature protected area---police close the main
road and security officers in cars and on motorcycles
follow the convoy.
Fences and security barriers are disrupting normal
life and closing down streets in the village of 800.
Residents have protested and German team officials
say they are in contact with local authorities to ease
German team manager Oliver Bierhoff, who is re-
sponsible for logistics, says security decisions are
made by local organisers, not by the German team.
coming off the bench could
have an unusually big impact
on games at the World Cup
because of the difficult
weather conditions in Brazil,
according to Germany coach
That means players should-
n t necessarily think of being
a substitute as a punishment,
Loew said---rather it s an
opportunity to come on and
decide the game against a tir-
ing opposition in the second
"The second half will bring
another stage of the match,
that s when the substitutes
can make a difference," Loew
said. "At this World Cup it
will be impossible to play an
entire match with the 11 play-
ers who started."
Germany plays its Group G
games in Salvador, Recife and
Fortaleza, where the weather
is warm and humid. Loew says
the climate will be a major
factor in the tournament.
The German team opens
against Portugal on Monday
in Salvador, then plays Ghana
on June 21 in Recife and the
United States on June 26 in
"We have very good con-
ditions in our camp here and
we ve adjusted somewhat to
the heat and humidity," Loew
said in his first news confer-
ence since Germany arrived
in Brazil. "You have to adjust
to these weather conditions
but after three, four days you
get used to it."
Loew said he was pleased
that his team picked the
Atlantic coast for its base
because the weather is similar
to the conditions in match
"At this World Cup, you will
not only have to beat the rival,
you will have to beat the kick-
off times and the weather," he
said. "All 23 players have to
be ready at an instant s notice."
Germany s meticulous
planning and preparation is
legendary and the three-time
champion appears not to be
leaving anything to chance
The team s fully equipped
practice ground, built from
scratch, includes floodlights.
The grass is exactly 22 mil-
limeters long and the ground
is on a north-south direction.
"This is the length of grass
in all World Cup stadiums,
and they all face the same
direction," Loew said. "We
picked local grass because it
grows a bit differently than in
Europe, a little more side-
Loew praised his team s first
opponent, saying Portugal was
"world champion in counter-
He said Germany and Por-
tugal were more or less evenly
matched---"they rely a bit
more on counterattacks, we
like a little more possession."
Germany opened the 2012
against Portugal and won 1--0.
Both teams reached the semi-
Germany has not won the
World Cup title since 1990.
Under Loew, Germany lost the
2008 European final to Spain
and was also beaten by the
eventual champion in the 2010
World Cup semifinals. (AP)
expected to deliver
Loew says bench will decide
Spain's Diego Costa waves from the pitch during a promotional
event, before the start of a training session at the Atletico
Paranaense training centre in Curitiba, Brazil, Tuesday. Spain will
play in group B of the Brazil 2014 World Cup. AP PHOTO
German national soccer team head
coach Joachim Loew smiles to
reporters as he prepares for a training
session in Santo Andre near Porto
Seguro, Brazil, yesterday. AP PHOTO
Links Archive June 12th 2014 June 14th 2014 Navigation Previous Page Next Page