ItÃ¢ÂÂs not often that La Liga Loca has the chance to be all fresh, brash and Rosie PÃÂ©rez in White Men CanÃ¢ÂÂt Jump with a huge, smug Ã¢ÂÂtold you soÃ¢ÂÂ. In fact, LLL has never previously had that opportunity. Recent posts predicted Barcelona to prevail in the Copa del Rey semi-final ClÃÂ¡sicos, and for Real Madrid and BarÃÂ§a to be knocked out of the Champions League at the last 16 stage, although that was perhaps more wishful thinking inspired by the love of a quiet life.
But the vibe ahead of TuesdayÃ¢ÂÂs World Cup qualifier between Spain and France was spot-on, with this very blog reminding you that the World and European champions have always thrown the odd wobbly before bouncing back when required with a gritty 1-0 win. Admittedly, that looked in doubt for a while in Paris, with Spain missing chances and VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s busier than the Spanish media would care to remember, with the theme in the post-match reports being that it was a very deserved win.
The goal was a pleasing scrambled effort from Pedro and not Ã¢ÂÂmagnificentÃ¢ÂÂ as MarcaÃ¢ÂÂs match report claimed, and continued a fine international campaign for the Canary Islander, who has scored 10 goals this season for Spain. All in all, it was a BarÃÂ§a-based victory, with ValdÃÂ©s pulling off some fine stops at the other end of the pitch, and this has inspired some rare interest from the press in the Catalan capital.
Ã¢ÂÂPedro gives the World Cup a second chanceÃ¢ÂÂ beamed WednesdayÃ¢ÂÂs front cover of Sport. Ã¢ÂÂNobody can stop a national team that shows a praiseworthy concentration and absolute effort,Ã¢ÂÂ was Josep Maria Casanovas' response to a win that gives Spain a one-point lead in their group with three matches left. Ã¢ÂÂDel Bosque can be proud of his men, they always deliver in tough moments.Ã¢ÂÂ
Mundo Deportivo are also holding back a tear or two, with Francesc Aguilar commenting that Ã¢ÂÂitÃ¢ÂÂs not that (Spain) want to die true to their style, but the opposite. They go out to win, as always, with the pride of Champions.Ã¢ÂÂ
AS are commendably political on Wednesday. Aside from the sufficiently boastful headline that Ã¢ÂÂthereÃ¢ÂÂs a reason we are ChampionsÃ¢ÂÂ, editor Alfredo RelaÃÂ±o refers to the numerous corruption trials taking place in the country, including one involving the KingÃ¢ÂÂs son-in-law, IÃÂ±aki UrdangarÃÂn. Ã¢ÂÂThis land, swept up from north to south by Ã¢ÂÂurdangarinatosÃ¢ÂÂ that weaken us and depress us needed a moment of joy like this.Ã¢ÂÂ
Ã¢ÂÂA dumbstruck Paris watched a display by the best national team on planet Earth,Ã¢ÂÂ reports TomÃÂ¡s Roncero. There was great love as well from the enormous Madridista to VÃÂctor ValdÃÂ©s and the goalkeeperÃ¢ÂÂs match-saving performance. Ã¢ÂÂWhen the great Iker lifts the World Cup in 2014 [...] I will leave a space in my memory for the great saves of ValdÃÂ©s. Thanks, VÃÂctor. Thanks, Spain.Ã¢ÂÂ
The mood in Spain is not so much relief - after all, previous experiences showed that Vicente del BosqueÃ¢ÂÂs side delivers when itÃ¢ÂÂs really, really, really necessary - but rather great pride. Despite the differences in the Spain camp between the players from The Big Two, it was a victory forged in La Masia (via the Canary Islands) but with crucial contributions from the Spanish capital and even Pamplona, with a solid display from Nacho Monreal. The country may be in a massive mess in every other department, but the football team keeps on rolling.
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