From ‘My big night’ by Raphael to ‘Freed from desire’ by Gala. From the win against Norway to the calamitous defeat in Glasgow. The stands jumped and shouted to the rhythm of the Italian singer who reigned on the dance floors in the nineties while the Spanish players gathered strength in the rain to get closer to the large group of Spaniards who came to the legendary Hampden stadium. Very few of them could imagine a defeat like the one suffered by Luis de la Fuente’s boys, whom some began to call after the defeat ‘Luis, the brief’.
“Freed from desire, mind and senses purified, people want more and more,” Gala was heard singing, a good summary of the state of excitement and vertigo that led the Scottish players to subdue Spain. “It is a difficult night for us, we came with enthusiasm,” admitted Mikel Merino, starter in the two games of this window, the only one with Rodri and Kepa. The Manchester City midfielder was the captain in Morata’s absence and acted as such when defending the team’s work: «The two they have had have been put in. We have tried, we have had two posts, an action from set pieces… It is one of those days when you do it well but the chances do not end up coming ». He was more forceful when asked about the doubts generated by this defeat regarding the stage that has just started: «We do not want to start with doubts, please. We are working and many things have been done well. The score counts but we have to fix those mistakes that have penalized us and it is a collective effort, we all win and we all lose.
The players did not want to blame the grass either, despite the fact that they did refer to it when explaining the development of the match. “We had a clear starting plan, to dominate the game, but the ball was rolling very slowly and they found themselves with a very quick goal,” said Dani Ceballos. “They have their conditions and we have to adapt,” Rodri seconded.
But they were not the most sought after players in the bowels of Hampden Park, but a Luis de la Fuente who was facing his first setback as a coach, just in his second game. He agreed with his boys that the result deserved to be a different one, and described the defeat as “painful”: “Analyzing the match one thinks that we have done things well. I keep those positive things and the attitude of the players.
“I don’t move an inch from the idea that I transfer to the players,” says the man from La Rioja when talking about what can be done wrong at this start of the stage. “You have to improve and continue polishing details, but the players are interpreting it well.”
De la Fuente did not want to load the inks on Pedro Porro and Dani Carvajal either, the two players who, with their mistakes, caused the two goals for Scotland: “There have been two accidents in the game, there is not a but or a reproach to the players and this should serve as learning. The first half has shown to a large extent everything we have worked on.
The last to appear before the media was the rookie, David García, the second to do so in the De la Fuente era after Joselu made his debut against Norway. The Navarrese, logically, had mixed feelings: «I felt comfortable. It was still a bit difficult for me to start, but I got into the game quickly. He is now confident that he will not be left out of future calls, although he admits that the competition is tough. For now, he is once again focusing on his club, Osasuna, with the intention of qualifying for his first Cup final.