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Monday , June 25 , 2012
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Heads we win: Two sides of the quarters coin
‘Portugal will not be so defensive’

Inaki Dorronsoro works as the general manager, technical, for a Spanish company in Calcutta. The 33-year-old, who has been here for the past two-and-a-half years, took Metro through the quarter-final between Spain and France, the evening after.

I had to watch the match at home alone like all the other matches this time because the timings are pretty late.

During the World Cup in 2010 I watched the matches here in Calcutta at the café in Sudder Street called Raj’s Spanish Café. I watched both the semi-finals and the finals there with many other Spanish people as well as Indians. The atmosphere was great. Here in West Bengal, the people are crazy about football. It is not the same watching the match alone.

The most important thing about the match was of course that we won it! Spain dominated possession and France were too defensive. At the beginning I was a bit worried because (Cesc) Fabregas was not clicking and (Andres) Iniesta and Xavi (Hernandez) were also not up to the mark. The team was not playing at the normal level early on but after the goal they went on to play much better.

Xabi Alonso was fantastic. I was counting on him in this match and how he performed! He scored two goals and was great with the short and long passes. It was like a class on passing. He was fantastic!

The Spanish team had the ball, they dominated the match, they scored the goal and France did not do much after that. The penalty did make the score 2-0 but it was really a 1-0 match.

When I sat down to watch I expected France to score at least one goal, especially with (Franck) Ribery and (Karim) Benzema up front, but I was positive that Spain would win. I was expecting a 2-1 kind of match, not 2-0.

One of the disappointments of the match for me was Fernando Torres. He was not in great shape. David Silva too did not have a great game. Both these stars under-performed.

I was surprised, but not disappointed, that they started with Fabregas, the “false 9” as we call it. But Fabregas is not a pure striker, like a (David) Villa. All of us are missing Villa. But we have to play with whoever we have and now we have Torres and Fabregas. Both are very different kinds of players. After coming on, Torres had a good chance to pump up the pace. But his game is not really suited to the Spanish kind of playing, with short passes.

Spain plays in the last 40 metres of the ground and all their front players are in that area. Considering that, you need the tiki-taka (constant, short passes) kind of players like Fabregas, like Iniesta.

I was happy with Spain’s defence. They had a good match, but they will have a tough one against Portugal. I am looking forward to the semis. Cristiano Ronaldo is a formidable opponent but there are other great players in the team too, like Nani. They also have a very good defence. The team as a whole is great.

As for the finals, I think Germany will make it there and I am confident that Spain will also make it. But I am more confident about Germany reaching the final than about Spain, frankly speaking. This Cristiano Ronaldo, he can score a couple of goals and he plays in Real Madrid, so he knows (the Spanish defenders) Gerard Pique, he knows (Sergio) Ramos. If he scores a goal Spain might become nervous and make more mistakes.

The game against Portugal will be very different from the one against France. Portugal will not be as defensive as France, but I think once Spain scores a goal they’ll dominate the game.

I guess I’ll end up watching the match alone at home, again. Many of my Spanish friends live in different parts of the city and the match ends so late that it’s difficult for people to go back home. Also, each of us has work the next day.

But if Spain goes to the finals we will definitely get together and watch it on Sunday night. Even if we have to take chhutti on Monday!