The domestic season may have only just begun but already it’s having to deal with its first international break.
Thanks in part to our boys Álvaro Domínguez and David de Gea, the Spain U21 side still has a chance to qualify for the European Championships in 2011 after winning their final two group games. The team finished as one of the four best runners-up. On Friday, la Rojita will find out their opponent for the final elimination round.
Domínguez and De Gea played with Spain U21 against the Netherlands last week, which forced the duo to miss Tuesday’s Super Cup celebrations in Madrid. The Dutch had already secured first place in the group, but weren’t willing to help Spain take the three points easily.
Down 1-0 after Sergio Canales had opened up the scoring with a delightful backheel in the 53rd minute, Jong Oranje would equalise after De Gea pushed a shot to the post and the ball bounced right into the path of incoming forward Bas Dost, who struck to make it 1-1.
But Spain, with plenty of experienced la Liga players in the line-up, got the job done in the end after Sevilla’s Diego Capel scored the tie-breaker. The Dutch youngsters would continue to threaten, hitting the post twice before the final whistle blew.
Yesterday, Spain U21 were given the opportunity to secure their play-off spot, but they would have to go through Poland first to do so. Domínguez was suspended after picking up a yellow card in the previous match, but thankfully, De Gea was available and in sensational form. Just five minutes before the end it was Canales again who scored a beautiful goal from an assist by Barcelona’s Thiago to give Spain a 0-1 victory.
Meanwhile, the senior national teams in Europe started qualification for the European Championships in 2012. Tiago joined Portugal for their first two qualifying matches, and was to find out that many aspects of the Seleção will have to improve if they want to be present in Poland and Ukraine.
Tiago didn’t feature in the home match against Cyprus, which ended in a spectacular 4-4. The Portuguese gave away the lead conceding a stunning last minute goal. Yesterday, Tiago was chosen to start in the away match against Norway and played 72 minutes of the 1-0 defeat, leaving Portugal with just a single point after two qualifiers.
Argentina and Spain played a friendly in Buenos Aires at River Plate’s Estadio Monumental. Our Álvaro Domínguez very well could have been there, but Del Bosque opted to pick other players to replace Puyol, as Domínguez was already with the Spanish youth team.
Sergio Agüero was selected for the Albiceleste and featured in the last twenty minutes. El Kun scored the final goal of the match to give the home team a thumping 4-1 win over the reigning World Cup champions.