Vicente del Bosque has been the guest of program number 15 of La Futbolería, where he has reviewed the World Cup in South Africa conquered by the Spanish National Team, of which it is now a decade.
How quickly this decade has passed!
It is good to remember the good and celebrate the past. It is not that I am a paragon of celebrations, but ten years of the World Cup have passed and it is true that they have passed very quickly.
We started with a loss to Switzerland, and then came doubts and debates. What if the double pivot, what if the center forward, what if the goalkeepers, what if Silva … How did Del Bosque overcome all that?
What a coach must have are clear ideas and not trying to win anyone because that does not lead to anything. You have to listen respectfully to everyone, but then you have to do what you think is best. You have cited the goalkeepers, which is a good example. We had three (Casillas, Valdés and Reina) who were very good, and all three were trained to be starters. But only one played and the other two were in place and were also a decisive part of the National Team winning that World Cup, for example with their contribution from the bench in the penalty kick we suffered against Paraguay.
(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO_YKhsdvSY (/ embed)
(Del Bosque refers to the fact that it was Pepe Reina who indicated to Casillas the post to which the Paraguayan pitcher used to adjust the ball. Iker stopped that penalty. It was the 59th minute and the score was 0-0 …)
Did the defeat mark a lot in the first game, did it misadjust the plans?
The necessary pinch of luck we had at the World Cup in South Africa was only missing in that first match, against Switzerland. The following days were uncomfortable, but little by little gratifying moments came because the group consolidated the desire to rebel against that bad moment.
Did the statements of Luis Aragonés as a commentator for Al Jazeera influence the National Team, were they a problem?
No, they were not. Luis gave his opinion and was authorized to do so. One of the first things I said to the players before the World Cup was that you had to respect the outgoing coach. To have loyalty to Luis was to have loyalty to the National Team. Players have to be loyal. They do not have to speak well of the one who is, but of the one who has left. We were obliged to speak highly of Luis. Those three days after the game against Switzerland were not easy, but they united us even more. He reaffirmed our belief, because we did not have to lurch.
Spain won the World Cup ten years ago with a Del Bosque who spoke to all the media. And he also won it with soccer debates. Now we have a coach who is the only one of the 59 countries in Europe that does not speak to the press and the debates are that a coach leave ten minutes before starting a World Cup. And now is when nothing is gained. Have we not learned that it is better to do things normally and naturally?
I will not participate in any of these current assessments. But on soccer debates, because everyone is free to give their opinion. For example, about the one that opened with the double pivot. We decided to play with the pair formed by Xabi Alonso and Busquets. And a debate arose. I had the obligation to listen to all the opinions, but I believed, and so I maintained, that this couple was very important to our football. They did everything well and were essential in creating the game and balancing the team. They harmonized the lines and gave us control of the game. But they also had a great offensive contribution. Xabi Alonso was one of the national team scorers. Both were vital, but it is true that the opinions favorable to Xabi came above all from Madrid and the like, and those from Busquets, from Catalonia and the like. And backwards. But for us both were national team players regardless of the shirt they wore with their respective clubs. I don't think we intoxicated Xavi Hernández's game by putting that double pivot. But it seems to me that the debate about the double pivot was lawful, like all those that are football. What I can say is that with the double pivot we won the World Cup. We might have won it without him, but we don't know. What we know is that it was won with the couple formed by Xabi and Busquets.
Cruyff said before the final against the Netherlands that he was going to Spain because he identified more with the national team soccer. Did you feel in that World Cup that Spain carried the flag of good football?
It's funny, because one of the coaches I had, Boskov, drank from the Dutch football fountain. Vujadin (Boskov) was Yugoslav, but he developed his football in the Netherlands. But I think that Spain became sympathetic to the world not only for its football, but also for its behavior, its character. We must remember that in the 114 games in which I was a coach we only had one expulsion … They were heroes not only because of their way of playing, but also because of their way of being.
Valuing the great work that Luis did, it seems unfair to me that someone says that what Del Bosque did was to maintain that line of success.
We received a very good inheritance and we did not want to erase anything with the stroke of a pen. 66% of the players who won the 2008 Euro Cup with Luis later came with me to the World Cup in South Africa, and 50% repeated in the Euro Cup that we won in 2012. There was a line of work in which a line was maintained but in the that a relay was also applied, the own of all the teams.
Months after winning the World Cup, the Netherlands coach, Van Marwijk, appeared in Las Rozas, in his office. Many people do not know this story. Can you tell what happened, how was that visit?
It is true, it was so. It was December, and we had won the World Cup half a year ago. And Van Marwijk appeared at the Federation, in Las Rozas. I think he came almost almost to apologize for the game in that final, but he came with extraordinary kindness and humility …, in terms of the game because everyone who wins a World Cup sets the trend a little.
Has that golden stage of the National Team been taken advantage of to gain momentum for what has come after taking into account, logically, that Xavi and Iniesta only exist themselves?
I sincerely believe that yes, it has worked well. Robert Moreno came to see me and was nice. But those who come behind do not have to call me. I think I told Robert not to take too much into account, that he had to make his decisions.
Don't you think that having a World and European champion like you, everyone who comes to the position of coach is almost obliged to call you and have a conversation with you?
I do not think so. I appreciate having that opinion, but the most important thing is not the coach, it was the group of players we had.
Is there a time during the World Cup when you see with your team that Spain can win the World Cup?
If we go to the genesis of everything, a day after the defeat against Switzerland I reminded the players with a tone between ironic and sarcastic that if we won the six games we had before we were going to be World champions. It was a challenge, a challenge that was not impossible and that was in our hands.
How is the play of Puyol's goal against Germany? Was it a play rehearsed by the Barça players who practiced with their team?
A couple of days before the match against Germany, in training, I tell our players that, in the corners, the opponent makes a zone defense, but a bit passive. And then I asked them in all normality what they do in their teams in this situation. And they explain themselves and those of Barça comment on this move. Then they put it into practice. But, of course, you have to have a Xavi that puts the ball for the auction of Puyol as he put it, a Piqué who knows how to drag the defenders, a Villa that misleads the goalkeeper and a shot as magnificent as the one that Carles (Puyol did). ). And all this I tell to demonstrate that it is not a symptom of weakness of the coaches to speak these things with the players, but quite the opposite.
The truth, watching the game repeated ten years later, you have to see the number of chances that Spain had in that final …
During this confinement that we have suffered I have seen all the matches of the World Cup in South Africa, and also those of Euro 2012. I had not seen them yet! Against Holland we did some things well, although it was not a nice game. We had our luck, but we did something right.
Many things were done well.
In summary, it was a group with exceptional conditions that we tried to guide as best as possible personally. And so came a champion team. We all had good relations, also with the press, which has to convey what is happening, and that was also very important. You know that good relationships are always essential to reach a good port.
Lastly, I remember the match against Paraguay as the hardest, the most difficult …
There were difficult moments, of course. In all matches. Of the day in Chile I remember the final minutes, which they did not want to attack because even with the defeat against Spain they were classified to pass the phase. We put Javi Martinez in for a little more control, and it turns out he was going up as a center forward! I told Toni Grande, but nothing …, they are things that happen in games and soccer. About the Paraguay match I have already commented that it was Reina who warned Casillas of the post that Cardozo threw, and that it was also a decisive play in the World Cup.
We have spoken of many players, of the rivals …, but have we left someone in the inkwell, someone for whom you want to have a memory?
Yes, I would also like to highlight the President, Ángel Villar, the General Secretary of the Federation, Jorge Pérez, and the Sports Director, Fernando Hierro. All three supported us strongly in the most difficult moments, and I will never forget that because it was important.