We are used to the fact that every four years, in summer, the world comes to a standstill because the soccer World Cup is played. This is much more than a competition. There are people who live during those four years of waiting saving money to go on a trip to the country that is to follow their team.
It is true that the World Cup has changed, that now for FIFA it is not that competition that is for the fans. For them it is a brutal business to such an extent that this year they have sold it to Qatari petrodollars. And before that nothing matters, neither the customs of that country, nor the treatment of women, nor the deaths in the construction of the stadiums. Nor do we have to stop all the competitions because the climate there does not allow us to play it in summer as we are used to.
We can talk long and hard about these customs far from human rights as many do. The reality is that everyone who can attends to the call of those countries since money is money. Let’s not forget that the handball world cup was held there recently, the Spanish Super Cup is held every year or Formula One races are organized. And they can sell us that all this is done because it is great for these countries to rectify their customs. Everything is a lie. The truth is that whoever can organize their event there to get money. And the others waiting to see if they can be the next to set up their competition there and access that money.
What we fans like is watching football. It is done. And we will adapt to see it now at Christmas without problem. Well, with the only problem of the schedules to watch all the games, since some will be played during business hours.
We will look with envy at countries like Argentina. There football is something else. Argentines are all from Argentina. It does not matter the coach or the players that make up his selection. There the country is paralyzed when its team plays. That feeling is not football. It goes much further. They are fans of their selection. Now, they are scary when things go wrong and they lose.
In Spain you live differently. We are more of team football. We are always for or against our own team if more or fewer players from our team are called up. There are even people who go with other countries due to the fact that there are more players from their team in those teams. We criticize everything, even before we start playing. And on top of that we have a selector that is ideal for this critical game. Luis Enrique is a coach with personality who feels like the leader of his team. He flees from having big stars on his team who could step on that leadership, although when he has had them he has lived with it. In this case, Spain does not have any top world player on which to build a team. Here it is built on Luis Enrique’s idea of football.
He also builds on the idea that his greatest enemy is the press, which always criticizes him, even when he wins. And he gets his players to follow him in this idea and also achieves that the media pressure that the press can exert falls on him, freeing his players from that pressure. It is true that one can think that this or that player is missing from the call. We who are mere fans think so, how can journalists who are supposed to understand more not think so? What is certain is that no star has been left in Spain. Those who have stayed here may have a similar level to those who have gone, they will not change the fate of our World Cup much.
The coach is committed to a very defined team game that has its gaps and virtues. We’re better off playing against teams that want to dominate the game than teams that want to be dominated. But what nobody can deny is that Spain always competes, it is not easy to beat it. She’s never the favorite but I don’t think anyone likes to come up against our team when it comes time for the playoffs.
I think that, once those ten minutes pass after reading the list of summoned in which you have the right to comment on the player you think is missing, it is time to put on the red shirt, support everyone equally, suffer with them but also rejoice, and enjoy this World Cup different from everyone knowing that, as always, no one counts with us but they should be careful. Ask the clever people who despised us at the European Basketball Championship a few months ago.